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Publisher:  Elizabeth  Peters 

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The  Independent  Film  &  Video  Monthly,  304  Hudson  St.,  6  fl.,  NY,  NY  10013. 

The  Independent  Film  &  Video  Monthly  (ISSN  0731-5198)  is  published  monthly 
except  February  and  September  by  the  Foundation  for  Independent  Video  and  Rim 
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",°™"A"    and  the  National  Endowment  for  the  Arts,  a  federal  agency. 

Publication  of  any  advertisement  in  The  Independent  does  not  constitute  an 
endorsement.  AIVF/FIVF  are  not  responsible  for  any  claims  made  in  an  ad.  Letters  to 
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All  contents  are  copyright  of  the  Foundation  for  Independent  Video  and  Film,  Inc. 
Reprints  require  written  permission  and  acknowledgement  of  the  article's  previous 
appearance  in  77je  Independent.  The  Independent  is  indexed  in  the  Alternative 
Press  Index  and  is  a  member  of  the  Independent  Press  Association. 

©  Foundation  for  Independent  Video  &  Film,  Inc.  2001 
AIVF/FIVF  staff:  Elizabeth  Peters,  executive  director;  Alexander  Spencer,  administra- 
tive director;  Michelle  Coe,  program  director;  Thalia  Hanthas,  membership  coordina- 
tor; James  Israel  &  Moikgantsi  Kgama-Gates,  information  services  assistants;  Greg 
Gilpatrick  &  Josh  Sanchez,  web  consultants;  Anne  Hubbell,  development  associate; 
Shane  Bunnag,  Adam  Eisenberg,  Renee  Griffith,  Tricra  Peters,  interns;  AIVF/FIVF  legal 
counsel:  Robert  I.  Freedman.Esq.  Cowan,  DeBaets,  Abrahams  &  Sheppard 

Visit  77ie  Independent  online  at:  www.aivf.org 

AIVF/FIVF  Board  of  Directors:  Doug  Block,  Paul  Espmosa,  Dee  Dee  Halleck,  Vivian 
Kleiman,  Lee  Lew-Lee,  Graham  Leggat*,  Ruby  Lerner*,  Richard  Linklater,  Cynthia 
Lopez*,  Diane  Markrow  (president),  Jim  McKay  (chair),  Robb  Moss  (vice  president), 
Elizabeth  Peters  (ex  officio),  Robert  Richter  (treasurer),  James  Schamus*,  Valerie  Soe 
(secretary).    *FIVF  Board  of  Directors  only 


2     THE    INDEPENDENT     January/February  2001 


Upfront 


7    News 

IFFCON  and  EVEO's  virtual 
pitch;  Solaris'  new  finishing 
fund;  The  Shooting  Gallery 
and  cineBLAST!  buyouts; 
ITVS's  Jim  Yee  retires; 
American  High  back  on  the  air; 
more  funds  at  Jerome. 

by  Brendan  Peterson; 
Tamara  Krinsky;  Paul 
Power 

15  Opinion 

Requiem  for  a  Dream's  producer 
calls  for  a  re-examination  of 
the  ratings  process. 

by  Eric  Watson 

16  Wired  Blue  Yonder 

Screenwriter  2000  allows  two 
writers  to  work  on  the  same 
script  at  the  same  time  on-line. 

by  Paul  Power 

18  Festival  Circuit 

Views  from  the  Avant  Garde  at 
the  New  York  Film  Festival 

by  Brian  Frye 

Departments 

22  Books 

Emile  de  Antonio  in  the  first 
person. 

by  Brian  Frye 

24  Technology 

A  sampler  of  visual  effects, 
animation,  and  compression 
software  for  your  desktop  edit- 
ing system. 

by  Greg  Gilpatrick 

28  Legal 

How  WGA,  DGA,  and  SAG 

are  dealing  with  Internet  and 
multimedia  contracts. 

by  Robert  Seigel 


31  On  View 

A  selection  of  this  month's 
releases  and  TV  airdates. 

by  Jim  Colvill 


FAQ  &  Info 

44  Distributor  FAQ 

Shooting  Gallery 
Entertainment  gives  over- 
looked features  a  chance — 
and  comes  out  a  winner. 

Y    LlSSA    GIBBS 


46  Funder  FAQ 

Venice,  CA-based  Echo  Lake 
Productions  provides  financing 
for  narrative  features. 

Michelle  Coe 


49  Festivals 
54  Notices 
60  Classifieds 


64  Events 

66  Salons 

67  Member  Benefits 


COVER:  Michelle  Yeoh  in  Ang  Lee's 
Crouching  Tiger,  Hidden  Dragon, 
Good  Machine's  latest  release. 


January/February  2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      3 


A  SINGLE  FRAME  OF  FILM  CONTAINS  OVER  12  MILLION  PIXELS  OF  INFORMATION 

AND  THE  FULL  RANGE  OF  HUMA 


When  you  want  to  move  an  audience,  take  someone's  breath  away,  or  perhaps 
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film  sees  the  world  the  same  way  people  do.  Not  in  a  rigid  grid  of  binary  code, 
but  in  the  warm,  human  palette  of  true  color  and  genuine  light  and  shadow.  With 
its  greater  tonal  range,  film  gives  you  much  more  leeway  to  create  mood  and 
convey  emotional  depth.  But  beyond  its  expressive  richness,  film  also 
captures  more  raw  information.  Which  gives  you  more  creative  options  later  on. 
And  ultimately,  more  opportunities  to  touch  the  human  soul. 


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The  best  place  in  New  York  to  get  movie-making  experience  is  at  the  Film  &  Video  program  at  NYU's 
School  of  Continuing  and  Professional  Studies. 

There's  a  long  history  at  NYU  of  helping  people  become  professional  filmmakers,  because  we  combine 
technical  and  practical  training  with  creative  inspiration.  Our  teachers  are  working  filmmakers,  and  our 
facilities  are  equipped  with  state-of-the-art  film,  video,  and  digital  technologies. 

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School  of  Continuing  and 
Professional  Studies 


PorfGCt  Pitch: 

EVEO  and  IFFCON's  On-line  Pitch  Session 


G^D 


by   Brendan    Peterson 


EDITED    BY    PAUL    POWER 

accessibility  of  projects  to  web  viewers — 
including  potential  financiers — for  hun- 
dreds of  filmmakers.  Since  its  launch  in 
1999  Eveo  has  focused  on  leveraging  the 


Last  July  the  International  Film 
Financing  Conference  (IFFCON)  teamed 
with  Eveo,  a  "user-generated"  video  web 
site,  to  create  EveoPitch,  an  opportunity 
for  filmmakers  to  pitch  narrative  or  docu- 
mentary projects  to  a  jury  of  industry  exec- 
utives by  creating  short,  on-line  movies. 
Filmmakers  were  invited  to  submit  three- 
minute  videos,  or  "eveos,"  to  sell  their 
ideas  for  a  feature-length  narrative  or  doc- 
umentary project.  Almost  80  submissions 
were  received,  ranging  from  talking  head 
testimonials  to  artsy  animations. 

Filmmaker  Katherine  Brooks  first  heard 
about  EveoPitch  at  Outfest  where  she  was 
screening  one  of  her  films.  "I  had  two  days 
to  think  of  a  creative  way  to  pitch  the  idea 
I  had  for  a  remake  of  the  1931  German 
classic  Maedchen  in  Uniform,"  says  Brooks. 

"Initially,  I  thought  it  was  important  for 
me  to  treat  this  as  a  real  pitch  and  cover 
things  like  marketing  and  budget.  But  in 
the  end  I  stuck  with  the  main  feature  of 
my  movie,  the  story." 

Brooks  created  a  pitch  that  featured  the 
filmmaker  climbing  a  tree  in  slow  motion 
and  using  a  series  of  signs  to  highlight  the 
themes  of  her  film  and  was  ultimately  cho- 
sen as  one  of  four  winners.  Her  prize?  An 
all- expenses  paid  trip  and  in-person  meet- 
ing with  a  top-level  development  execu- 
tive to  discuss  her  project.  In  addition  she 
received  a  check  for  $1,000  to  create  an 
eveo  to  premiere  on  the  Eveo  web  site. 
After  one  meeting  Brooks  is  cautiously 
optimistic.  "At  this  point  I  don't  have  too 
many  expectations,  but  I  do  believe  it  will 
get  funded  through  EveoPitch,"  she  says. 

Other  EveoPitch  winners  included  Kelly 
Anderson  and  Tami  Gold  for  the  docu- 
mentary Every  Mother's  Son,  Gregory 
Feldman  for  his  narrative  Beginning  of  the 
Epitaph,  and  Yoav  Potash  for  his  documen- 
tary Point  of  Entry.  For  these  filmmakers, 
the  road  to  the  EveoPitch  winning  circle 
was  fast  and  furious. 

To  begin,  each  EveoPitch  submission 
was  shown  on  Eveo.com  where  an  on-line 
audience  voted  for  their  10  favorites.  At 
the  same  time  staff  members  at  IFFCON 


and  Eveo  chose  the  10  entries  they  liked 
best.  Finally,  a  live  audience  at  San 
Francisco's  Resfest  2000  voted  on  the  20 
finalists,  selecting  its  favorites.  The  top  20 
finalists  were  then  screened  and  evaluated 
by  a  jury  of  film  and  TV  executives. 
Ironically,  despite  the  high  tech  nature  of 
the  EveoPitch  concept,  the  jurors  them- 
selves all  watched  the  pitches  on  good  old- 
fashioned  videotape,  rather  than  on-line. 

IFFCON  executive  director  Wendy 
Braitman  saw  the  partnership  with  Eveo  as 
the  logical  next  step  for  her  organization. 
"EveoPitch  falls  right  in  line  with 
IFFCON's  long-term  goal  to  connect  film- 
makers with  financiers,"  says  Braitman. 
Since  1994  IFFCON  has  provided  a  meet- 
ing ground  to  assist  in  the  financial  devel- 
opment of  nearly  400  independent  films, 
among  them  Three  Seasons,  Crumb,  and 
Getting  to  Know  You.  "We  liked  the  integri- 
ty of  this  project,"  she  says.  "It  wasn't 
about  false  promises.  Sure  it  would  be  nice 
to  hand  filmmakers  a  million  dollars,  but 
getting  these  meetings  with  executives  is 
more  of  a  long-term  strategy  for  success." 

For  Eveo  the  chance  to  partner  with 
IFFCON,  their  San  Francisco  neighbor, 
meant  a  credibility  boost  for  this  new  web 
site  and,  more  importantly,  increasing  the 


latest  technology  and  the  Internet  to  give 
filmmakers  of  all  shapes  and  sizes  a  voice. 
With  EveoPitch,  these  filmmakers  were 
given  a  chance  to  sidestep  the  barriers  of 
the  Hollywood  machine  and  get  their 
ideas  through  to  the  people  who  make 
movies  happen. 

Eveo's  senior  director  of  talent  and  busi- 
ness affairs,  Danielle  Knight,  was  excited 
to  see  EveoPitch  making  a  difference  for 
some  of  the  filmmakers  she  works  with. 
"Eveo.com  is  built  on  the  idea  that  film- 
makers should  be  empowered  to  express 
themselves.  With  EveoPitch  filmmakers 
can  take  it  to  the  next  level  by  gaining 
access  that  they  don't  generally  have." 

When  asked  about  the  possibility  of 
future  EveoPitch  projects,  Knight  is  uncer- 
tain at  best.  "At  this  point  we're  going  to 
play  it  by  ear.  It's  been  fantastic  and  we 
want  to  do  it  again.  But  it's  a  big  project 
and  we  aren't  sure  whether  we  are  in  a 
position  to  commit  into  the  future.  We'll 
wait  and  see  how  this  first  one  plays  out." 

For  further  into,  contact:  www.ifTcon.org 
or  www.eveo.com 

Brendan  Peterson  [swordfshfQ  wenet.net]  is  a 

critic  &  writer  who  covers  independent  film  in  the 
San  Francisco  Bag  Area. 


January,  February   200 1     THE    INDEPENDENT       7 


We  love  a  parade. 


The  best  spot  to  view  parades? 
VideoSource,  of  course.  In  fact,  now 
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there's  even  more  to  cheer  about. 
From  international  coverage  to 
stateside  news,  we  have  it  all  lined  up. 
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■ 


The  mission  of  the  Association  of  Independent  Videc 
and  Filmmakers  (AIVF)  is  to  increase  the  creative 
and  professional  opportunities  for  independent  videi 
and  filmmakers  and  to  ensure  and  enhance  the  growti 
of  independent  media  by  providing  services,  advocac) 
and  information.  In  these  ways,  AIVF  promotes 
diversity  and  democracy  in  the  communication  and 
expression  of  ideas  and  images. 

AIVF  Founding  Principles: 

1  The  Association  is  an  organization  of  and  for  independer 
video-  and  filmmakers. 

2  The  Association  encourages  excellence,  commitment 
and  independence;  it  stands  for  the  principle  that  video  ai 
filmmaking  is  more  than  just  a  job,  that  it  goes  beyond 
economics  to  involve  the  expression  of  broad  human 
values. 

3  The  Association  works,  through  the  combined  efforts  c 
the  membership,  to  provide  practical,  informational,  and 
moral  support  for  independent  video-  and  filmmakers  and 
is  dedicated  to  ensuring  the  survival  and  providing  suppoi 
for  the  continuing  growth  of  independent  video  and 
filmmaking. 

4  The  Association  does  not  limit  its  support  to  one  genre 
ideology,  or  aesthetic.,  but  furthers  diversity  of  vision  in 
artistic  and  social  consciousness. 

O  The  Association  champions  independent  video  and  filn 
as  valuable,  vital  expressions  of  our  culture,  and  is 
determined  to  open,  by  mutual  action,  pathways  toward 
exhibition  of  this  work  to  the  community  at  large. 


Solaris  Power 

New  finishing  fund  from  the 
Tumbleweeds  team. 


From  Stephen  Earnhart's 
Mule  Skinner  Blues. 


weeds, 
1999 
they 
duced 
wrote/di- 
rected 
respectively, 
they  decided  to  try  to  prevent  the  same 
fate  from  befalling  other  filmmakers.  Their 
newly  formed  Solaris  Completion  Partners 
is  a  finishing  fund  that  provides  postpro- 
duction  financing,  technical  support,  and 
sales  representation  to  independent  film- 
makers. 

"We  wanted  to  form  a  company  of  film- 
makers, so  that  if  you  needed  additional 
monies  it  didn't  feel  like  you  were  going 
and  talking  to  suits,  which  can  be  intimi- 
dating," says  Greg  O'Connor.  Solaris 
Completion  Partners  has  currently  com- 
mitted to  three  documentary  projects: 
Barbara  Kopple's  My  Generation  (a  look  at 
the  Woodstock  festivals  of  1969,  1994,  and 
1999),  Stephen  Earnhart's  Mule  Skinner 
Blues  (an  exploration  of  the  artistic  aspira- 
tions of  a  group  of  individuals  living  in  a 
trailer  park  near  Jacksonville,  Florida), 
and  the  John  Hyams-directed  The 
Specimen  (a  look  at  the  world  of  no-rules 
fighting  and  a  champion  fighter  who  defies 
every  stereotype  of  what  that  should  be) . 

Jem  Greenhalgh,  producer  of  The  Speci- 
men, chose  to  work  with  Solaris  specifical- 
ly because  of  their  filmmaker-friendly  atti- 
tude. "We  went  through  four  other  financ- 
ing groups  of  investors  who  were  totally 
trying  to  take  advantage  of  us,  hitting  us 
with  deal  points,  lawyers,  et  cetera.  When 
we  met  with  Solaris,  they  were  open  to 


what  we  were  doing  and  they  weren't  try- 
ing to  rob  us  blind.  I  was  skeptical  until  the 
contract  came,  but  when  I  read  it,  it  was 
exactly  what  they  said  it  would  be." 

Solaris  is  also  interested  in  supporting 
narrative  features,  but  has  not  yet  found  a 
project  in  which  they  have  felt  strongly 
enough  to  invest.  "While  a  film  doesn't 
have  to  be  typically  commercial  or  contain 
name  talent,  we  have  to  believe  that  the 
film  is  strong  and  unique  enough  to  garner 
theatrical  distribution,"  explained  Greg 
O'Connor.  "We  have  an  obligation  to  our 
investors,  but  it's  really  about  stuff  we 
believe  in."  According  to  Josh  Fagin,  who 
runs  the  finishing  fund  with  the 
O'Connors,  aesthetic  consideration  of  a 
film  comes  before  financial  consideration. 

Seed  money  for  Solaris  originally  came 
from  a  portion  of  the  money  made  from 
the  1999  Sundance  sale  of  Tumbleweeds  to 
Fine  Line  Features.  Greg  O'Connor  then 
raised  the  rest  through  private  investors. 
Financing  is  put  into  the  company,  which 
is  a  limited  liability  corporation,  rather 
than  into  a  particular  project.  In  this  way, 
investors  have  no  creative  decision-mak- 
ing power,  and  are  buying  into  the  exper- 
tise of  those  who  run  Solaris.  Finding 
investors  for  the  fund  is  an  ongoing 
process.  Financially,  the  Solaris  deal  is  one 
of  proportional  equity,  based  on  the 
amount  of  money  they  put  into  a  film. 
Usually  there  is  some  sort  of  credit  given 
to  Solaris,  but  credit  and  the  specifics  of 
the  financing  are  negotiated  individually 
for  each  project  with  which  they  become 
involved.  "This  isn't  a  huge  money-making 
enterprise,"  said  Gavin.  "It's  a  way  for  us  to 
give  back  and  become  involved  with 
emerging  filmmakers  and  allow  them  to 
fulfill  their  dreams." 

Filmmakers  have  found  that  the  true 
value  of  a  deal  with  Solaris  lies  in  taking 
advantage  of  the  guidance  and  support 
offered  through  the  post  process,  and  the 
open  doors  their  partnership  brings  with  it. 
After  agreeing  to  take  on  a  film,  the  first 
step  for  Solaris  is  to  assess  the  postproduc- 
tion  budget.  This  is  usually  done  by  Eitan 
Hakami,  the  post  supervisor  on  Tumble' 
weeds,  who  works  at  Post  Production 
Playground,  a  New  York-based  one-stop 
post  house.  After  the  budget  has  been 
refined,  Solaris'  depth  of  involvement  will 
vary,  depending  on  the  needs  and  knowl- 
edge of  the  filmmakers.  On  The  Specimen, 


Solaris  was  especially  helpful  to  first-time 
producer  Greenhalgh  with  questions  about 
licensing  music  and  clips.  Additionally, 
they  introduced  him  to  individuals  who 
later  became  his  producer's  rep  and  publi- 
cist. For  My  Generation,  much  of  Solaris' 
focus  was  on  dealing  with  foreign  sales 
entities  and  with  the  special  screening  that 
film  had  at  Sundance  last  year.  However, 
while  both  O'Connors  say  they  will  make 
creative  and  business  suggestions,  one  of 
the  things  that  makes  the  company  unique 
is  the  brothers'  refusal  to  dictate  a  specific 
course  of  action.  While  first-time  director 
Stephen  Earnhart  valued  the  creative 
input  he  received  for  re-shoots  on  Mule 
Skinner  Blues,  he  never  felt  pressured  to 
execute  a  suggestion  if  he  didn't  agree  with 
it. 


"This  isn't  a  huge  money- 
making  enterprise.  It's  a 
way  for  us  to  give  back  and 
become  involved  with 
emerging  filmmakers  and 
allow  them  to  fulfill  their 

dreams."  —  Gavin  O'Connor 


There  are  no  budgetary  or  format 
restrictions  for  Solaris  projects,  but  the 
majority  of  films  under  consideration  for 
funding  have  had  budgets  below  $1  mil- 
lion. Solaris  can  become  involved  at  any 
stage  of  postproduction,  from  rough  cut  to 
blow-up.  The  company  became  involved 
with  both  Mule  Skinner  Blues  and  The 
Specimen  after  seeing  trailers  for  the  films. 
The  O'Connors  and  Fagin  say  that  it's 
important  to  be  able  to  see  something 
visual  as  opposed  to  just  reading  scripts. 
"You  don't  know  what  you're  going  to  get 
with  a  new  director,"  explains  Gavin. 
"Coming  in  at  this  point  allows  us  to  see 
whether  or  not  a  new  director  can  take  the 
words  on  the  paper  and  pur  something  on 
screen  that  has  true  vision.  We  realize  it's 
a  luxury  tor  us  to  conic  in  after  it's  shot." 

To  approach  Solan-  Completion  Pin- 
ners, contact  Josh  Fagin  at   (2\2)    $43 
7400. 

Tamara  Krinsky  is  u  Los  Angeles-based  freelance 

actress/wtiter.  She  currently  works  for  the  Film 

Program  at  the  I  IS.  Comedy  Arts  Festival. 


January  February    2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      9 


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5   industrial    park   drive,    farmi ngton   hi  I  Is,    mi    48335   •   voice   248.474.3900   •    fax  248.474.1577 


BUYING  BINGE: 

CineBlast!  &  Shooting  Galley 
Scooped  Up 

Who  said  the  high-tech  market  is  tak- 
ing  a  downturn?  Last  fall,  two  New  York- 
based  film  operations,  Shooting  Gallery 
and  cineBLAST!,  saw  an  infusion  of 
finance  from  high-tech  media  ventures. 

The  big  news  in  October  was  the  80 
percent  stake  that  self-described  "world 
class  rich  media  provider"  itemus  inc. 
(www.itemus.com)  announced  it  was  tak- 
ing in  production,  distribution,  postpro- 
duction,  and  web/interactive  company 
Shooting  Gallery.  The  Canadian  venture 
capital  and  solutions  company  injected 
$56  million  into  Shooting  Gallery  as  part 
of  a  share  exchange  deal.  Shooting  Gallery 
will  spin  off  its  existing  film,  TV  and  music 
development,  and  distribution  business  to 
its  existing  stockholders  as  a  new  stand 
alone  company, — Shooting  Gallery  Enter- 


"A  lot  of  this  has  to  do  with  branding," 
says  Gill  Holland,  CEO  of  cineBLAST! 
"If  you  work  hard  enough  to  create  a 
brand  like  The  Shooting  Gallery  and 
Miramax,  you  can  create  a  value  for 
your  company  that's  intangible." 


tainment.  For  purposes  of  the  deal, 
Shooting  Gallery  was  valued  at  $70  million 
and  it  now  becomes  one  of  three  wholly 
owned  subsidiaries  of  itemus  Inc.  in  their 
investments  portfolio  of  advanced  net- 
working, mobile  commerce,  and  rich 
media  solutions. 

"We  needed  a  big-branded  presence — a 
leader  in  the  new  wave  of  marketing  com- 
munications that  involves  broadband," 
said  Jim  Tobin,  president  and  CEO  of  ite- 
mus, at  the  joint  press  conference. 
Shooting  Gallery's  diversified  base 
(Shoting  Gallery  Productions,  East  Coast 
Post,  Gun  for  Hire,  TSG  Pictures)  with 
five  digital  studio  operations  (Digital 
Media  Centers)  throughout  the  U.S.  and 
Canada  and  over  200  employees,  has  shift- 
I  ed  from  its  original  production  base  (Sling 
Blade,  You  Can  Count  on  Me).  The  main 
activities  and  revenue  now  flow  from  post- 
production  and  rich  media  creation,  while 
in  distribution  the  screening  series 
launched  last  year  with  Loews  has  proved 


From  Tim  McCann's  upcoming  Revolution  #S, 
a  cineBLAST!  production. 

to  be  a  major  success,  and  a  third  one  is 
planned  for  this  spring  [see  Distributor 
FAQ,  p.  44}. 

Gill  Holland's  cineBLAST!  was 
acquired  outright  in  September  by  NAS- 
DAQ-quoted multimedia  company  Digital 
Creative  Development  Corporation  (DC2). 
DC2's  stock  and  cash  deal  has  given  it 
rights  to  cineBLAST! 's  library  of  15  titles, 
which  includes  features  by  John  Luke 
Montias  (Bobby  G  Can't  Swim),  Jamie 
Yearkes  (Spin  the  Bottle),  Tim  McCann 
(Revolution  #9),  Arthur  Flam  and  Diane 
Doniol-Valcroze  (Kill  by  Inches),  and  Rich 
Mauro  (The  Mole),  together  with 
cineBLAST! 's  shorts. 

"A  lot  of  this  is  to  do  with  branding," 
says  Gill  Holland,  CEO  of  cineBLAST!  "If 
you  work  hard  enough  to  create  a  brand 
like  The  Shooting  Gallery  and  Miramax, 
you  can  create  a  value  for  your  company 
that's  intangible."  Intangible,  that  is,  until 
someone  makes  you  an  offer. 

DC2's  president  and  CEO  Ralph 
Sorrentino  intends  to  position  cine- 
BLAST! in  his  plans  for  a  new  studio  oper- 
ation on  the  east  coast.  The  company 
already  has  acquired  15  other  media  com- 
panies ranging  from  internet  content 
providers,  broadband  technology,  and  B2B 
creative-services  firms  to  postproduction 
houses,  and  cineBLAST!  will  continue  to 
develop  and  produce  projects  as  before. 

Changes  at  cineBLAST!  include  the 
hiring  of  an  additional  four  staff  members 
in  development,  production,  and  office 
management  areas.  The  company's  output 
of  an  average  of  six  projects  a  year  will 
remain  at  around  that  level.  The  budgets 
will  shift,  however:  "One  third  will  be  ultra 
low-budget,  but  the  other  two-thirds  will 
be  a  step-up  to  $2-$5  million  budgets," 
says  Holland.  Although  these  will  primari- 
ly be  fiction  films,  cineBLAST!  continues 
to  executive  produce  documentaries,  such 
as  Tim  Kirkman's  Decir  Jesse  and  Ryan 
Deussing's  upcoming  Confederacy  Theory. 

Paul  Power 
Paul  Power  is  managing  editor  of  The  [ndependenl 


We  are  a  facility  specializing  in 
picture  and  audio  post  for  projects 

finished  on  film.  We  offer  full  audio 
services;  sound  design,  foley,  ADR 

and  mixing.  Film  editing  at  24  or  30 
fps  on  high  end  digital  non  linear 

systems  and  full  technical  support  at 

every  stage  of  your  project  Please 

contact  us  for  more  information. 


January  February  ■    THE    INDEPENDENT      11 


Indie 


The  online  resource  for  independent  filmmakers. 


Agents 

Buyers 

Classifieds 

Distributors 

Equipment 

Festivals 

Funding 

Grants 

Markets 

Post-production 

Producers 

Schools 

Screening  rooms 

more... 


www.indie7.com 


Jim  Yee  Leaves  ITVS 

Jim  Yee,  executive  director  of  the 
Independent  Television  Service  (ITVS), 
resigned  his  post  last  November  because  of 
serious  health  problems.  Yee  was  the  sec- 
ond head  of  ITVS,  arriving  in  1994  to 

replace  John 
Schott,  hav- 
ing spent 
the  prior  10 
years  as 

executive 
director  and 
co-founder 
of  the  Nat- 
ional Asian 
American 
Telecomm- 
unications 
Association 
(NAATA). 

Yee  was 
among  the 
original 
group  of 
producers 
who  advo- 
cated for 
ITVS's  for- 
mation. His 
leadership  and  aesthetic  vision  heralded  a 
period  of  unprecedented  productivity  and 
accolades  for  the  organization,  including 
numerous  awards.  "He's  been  responsible 
for  the  best  body  of  social  issue  documen- 
tary work  in  American  television  history," 
claims  Jack  Willis,  programmer  of  public 
satellite  channel  Worldlink,  where  many 
ITVS  programs  have  been  aired.  "Jim  was 
also  instrumental  in  making  Worldlink 
happen,"  notes  Willis.  "He  threw  the 
weight  of  ITVS  behind  the  project,  helped 
develop  the  channel,  and  has  been  sup- 
portive of  it." 

In  1998,  Yee  served  on  the  Gore 
Commission  on  Digital  Television  and  the 
PBS  Satellite  Interconnection  Committee. 
"On  the  Gore  Commission  he  spoke  up 
not  only  for  the  public  interest  but 
addressed  content  as  well,"  notes  David 
Liu,  Executive  in  Charge  of  Program 
Development  at  ITVS. 

Yee's  many  friends  and  colleagues  have 
been  effusive  in  their  praise  of  his  business 
sense,  his  passion  for  activism  and  social 
justice,  and  those  character  traits — partic- 
ularly his  tenaciousness  allied  with  a  sense 


of  humor — which  made  him  a  leader  in 
the  field.  "Among  Jim's  finer  qualities  are 
his  commitment  to  social  justice  and 
equality,  tireless  energy,  political  acumen, 
and  gift  for  building  consensus,"  notes 
Stephen  Gong,  NAATA  board  member. 
"Jim  likes  at  times,  to  present  a  'take  no 
prisoners'  approach  to  management  and 
other  business  processes.  This  impatience 
is  a  front  because  he  has  such  a  soft  heart 
and  great  empathy." 

"He  relishes  a  good  fight  and  is  someone 
who  is  always  willing  to  take  on  really  big 
challenges,"  says  Film  Arts  Foundation 
(FAF)  executive  director,  Gail  Silva.  "He 
has  incredible  stubbornness  and  a  very 
wry — and  slightly  wicked! — sense  of 
humor."  Janet  Cole,  who  was  on  the  FAF 
board  with  Yee  in  the  early  eighties  and 
was  coordinating  producer  at  ITVS  when 
Yee  arrived  there,  notes  how  "through 
both  his  idealism  and  pragmatism,  he  has 
always  found  ways  to  work  both  humor 
and  an  overview  of  situations  into  his 
approach  to  problems  and  opportunities." 

"He  is  a  man  of  enormous  integrity — 
even  when  he's  involved  in  the  political 
machinations  of  keeping  ITVS  alive  in  the 
halls  of  Congress,"  says  Lillian  Jiminez, 
who  worked  with  Yee  when  she  was  chair 
of  the  National  Coalition  of  Independent 
Public  Broadcasting  Producers.  "He's  sort 
of  a  cross  between  the  Road  Runner 
(silent  and  fast)  and  the  Energizer  bunny 
— he  keeps  going  in  spite  of  all  the  hurdles 
thrown  in  his  path.  In  many  ways,  he  is  so 
much  a  child  of  the  sixties:  self-reflective, 
open  and  accessible  yet  distant,  compas- 
sionate and  tremendously  funny — that 
cacophanous  laugh  reverberating  in  con- 
fined spaces!" 

Liu  has  known  Yee  for  over  30  years, 
through  all  stages  of  his  career.  -"Jim  is  a 
fighter  with  an  instinctual  sense  of  battle 
and  vision  and  fighting  for  what  he 
believes,  as  if  he  was  born  to  be  a  warrior 
in  that  sort  of  atmosphere,"  he  notes. 
"He's  able  to  build  bridges  due  to  his  spir- 
it, integrity,  and  vision,  but  also  due  to  the 
fact  that  he  is  very  intensely  personal  and 
had  a  sense  of  humor  that  broke  the  ice  at 
the  right  moment. 

"He's  a  rare  individual  who'll  be  very, 
very  hard  to  replace,"  concludes  Liu. 
"There's  a  huge  sense  of  loss  at  not  having 
his  presence,  input,  energy,  and  vitality." 

-  Paul  Power 


PBS  Provides  Class  for 
American  High 

The  decision  on  October  24  by  PBS  to 
acquire  American  High,  produced  by  R.J. 
Cutler  (The  War  Room,  A  Perfect  Can- 
didate), has  saved  the  fly-on-the-wall  high 
school  series  from  permanent  expulsion  to 
Fox's  vaults.  [See  story  in  the  October 
Independent.  ] 

American  High,  an  innovative  series  in 
which  footage  filmed  by  students  is  com- 
bined with  filmmakers'  footage  of  the 
goings-on  at  a  Chicago  high  school,  was 
produced  and  owned  by  20th  Century  Fox 
Studios  in  association  with  Cutler's  Actual 
Reality  Pictures.  Fox  gave  the  show  only 
two  weeks  in  a  fiercely  competitive  prime- 
time  summer  slot  before  deciding  to  drop  it 
due  to  low  ratings.  The  studio  did,  howev- 
er, allow  Actual  Reality  to  conclude  shoot- 
ing, which  took  them  up  to  mid- October. 
(Cutler  is  keen  to  make  a  distinction 
between  20th  Century  Fox  studios,  which 
financed  the  project,  and  the  Fox  broad- 
casting network,  which  aired  it.) 

"Even  though  Fox  broadcasting  decided 
not  to  run  the  show,  the  studio  stood 
behind  it  and  continued  backing  it  to  the 
end,"  says  Cutler.  "As  supportive  as  the 
studio  was,  the  network  really  blew  it  with 
this  show — there  were  a  lot  of  unfortunate 
decisions  made."  These  included  premier- 
ing  the  series  midweek  on  August  2, 
"which  was  questionable,  especially  since 
this  series  was  geared  to  high  school  stu- 
dents and  their  families,"  notes  Cutler.  It 
also  premiered  with  only  three  weeks' 
notice,  although  Fox's  Boston  Public,  which 
premiered  in  late  October,  had  been  heav- 
ily promoted  since  mid-July.  The  final 
straw  was  American  High's  direct 
Wednesday  night  competition — CBS's  Big 
Brother.  "These  factors  preordained  that 
we  weren't  able  to  deliver  numbers  to  stu- 
dio executives,"  concludes  Cutler.  Yet  the 
series  had  a  not  inconsequential  five  mil- 
lion viewers  tor  the  three  aired  episodes 
(the  season  premiere  featured  two  back-to- 
back  episodes)  and,  notably,  held  its  audi- 
ence for  each  of  these  half-hour  periods. 

Cutler  attributes  the  show's  salvation  to 
new  TBS  head  Pat  Mitchell  (see  interview 
p.  56],  whose  "tremendous  enthusiasm 
and  commitment"  paved  the  way  tor  an 
unprecedented  acquisition  K   the  public 


January/February    2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      13 


28th 

Athens 

Film  &  Video 

Festival 

April  27-May  5  2001 

Erftrres:  contact 

iWww.Athensfest.org 

email: 

bradley@ohiou.edu 

740-593-1330  (tel) 

740-597-2560  (fax) 

P.O.  Box  388 
Athens,  OH  45701 


The  Athens  International 
Film  and  Video  Festival  is  a 
project  of  the  College  of 
T"1  Fine  Arts  at  Ohio  University. 


American  High  producer  R.J.  Cutler 

broadcaster  of  a  primetime  series.  Terming 
PBS  "a  producer's  dream,"  Cutler  has 
plenty  of  ideas  for  the  future  and  is  com- 
fortable with  PBS's  "long  view  of  the 
future."  Minneapolis'  Twin  Cities  Public 
TV  is  American  High's  presenting  station. 

The  right  to  American  HigWs  concept 
and  title  remain  with  Fox,  says  PBS's  John 
Wilson,  senior  vice  president  of  program- 
ming services,  although  PBS  has  the 
option  to  make  more  episodes  of  the  series. 
At  press  time,  station  executives  hadn't  yet 
decided  whether  to  schedule  it  for  April  or 
the  fall.  When  asked  about  whether  possi- 
ble scheduling  conflicts  and  audience  frag- 
mentation would  occur  if  PBS  airs  the 
series  opposite  David  Zeiger's  Senior  Year, 
Wilson  disagrees:  "We  see  them  as  very 
complementary  and  between  them  we 
have  a  very  strong  strand  to  offer  viewers. 
American  High  creates  even  more  profile 
and  stature  for  this  kind  of  programming." 
Senior  Year  will  be  able  to  "ride  the  tide" 
that  American  High  generates,  he  adds. 
"We're  absolutely  going  to  use  American 
High  in  prime  time.  It  will  get  great  cover- 
age and  we  will  promote  it  in  a  way  that 
makes  sense  to  its  target  audience."  That 
target  audience  is  teens — not  PBS's  tradi- 
tional viewership — and  their  parents, 
which  will  give  PBS  the  opportunity  to  test 
its  promotional  programs  including  web 
development  and  online  interaction,  out- 
reach to  schools,  and  allowing  time  for  the 


audience  to  develop  and 
build,  a  vital  element 
which  Fox's  impatience 
didn't  allow. 

Episodes  that  were  22 
minutes  long  for  Fox  will 
be  retooled  to  27  min- 
utes on  PBS  (an  sub- 
stantial extra  70  minutes 
over  the  run  of  the 
series).  The  producers 
need  have  no  worries 
about  finding  additional 
material:  Cutler  shot 
2,800  hours  for  14  30- 
minute  episodes  (com- 
pared with  40  hours  for 
The  War  Room  and  150 
hours  for  A  Perfect 
Candidate). 

—  Paul  Power 


Jerome's  Dollars 

The  Jerome  Foundation  recently 
announced  a  change  to  its  funding 
amounts  and  application  specifications. 
After  soliciting  feedback  from  the  field, 
the  Minneapolis-based  foundation  has 
increased  the  ceiling  for  grants  to  individ- 
ual media  artists  from  $20,000  to  $30,000. 
Executive  director  Robert  Byrd  stated  that 
grant  amounts  will  now  range  from 
$10,000-$30,000. 

More  importantly,  the  foundation  now 
allows  applications  from  productions  with 
budgets  of  up  to  $200,000.  This  increase, 
from  its  previous  limit  of  $75,000,  which 
was  "unreasonable,  even  for  an  emerging 
artist,"  says  Byrd,  was  made  in  response  to 
feedback  from  applicants. 

"We're  trying  to  help  people  get  closer 
to  seeing  their  work  completed,"  says  Byrd 
of  the  measures,  which  are  effective  imme- 
diately. 

Contact  the  foundation  at:  (800)  995- 
3766  or  (612)  224-9431;  www.jeromefdn.org 

—  Paul  Power 

Errata 

In  the  November  issue's  interview  with  Skip 

Blumberg  and  Linda  iannacone,  it  was  stated 

that  Free  Speech  TV  airs  on  DirecTV.  Rather, 

FSTV  airs  on  DISH  Network  (Channel  9415).  The 

Independent  regrets  the  error. 


14    THE    INDEPENDENT     January/February  2001 


Requiem  for  a  Rating 


(^U-^-J^JSiJ^j) 


by   Eric   Watson 

AS      INDEPEN- 

« »  *         *    ,  v  dent  filmmak- 

^MM^  ers    we    must 

jfl  w  sooner  or  later 

l^^k  face  the 

I    ^&    J  MPAA  and  its 

^B  system   of  as- 

signing paren- 
tal guidelines 
to  our  films. 
Unfortunately, 
the  MPAA 
was  not  creat- 
ed by  us  or  for 
us;  rather  it 
was  created  by  the  eight  major  studios  that 
maintain  its  annual  payroll.  Like  any  paid 
jury,  the  MPAA  must  keep  those  who  pay 
the  bills  happy;  otherwise  it  would  not  be 
able  to  sustain  itself.  With  this  in  mind,  it's 
easy  to  understand  how  morally  bankrupt 
films  like  8MM  and  Scary  Movie  are  able  to 
obtain  R  ratings  despite  their  graphic  con- 
tent while  films  such  as  Happiness  and  Kids 
are  slapped  with  NC-17  ratings.  The 
MPAA  can  do  this  without  repercussion 
because  major  studios  are  not  distributing 
these  films  and  the  filmmakers  have  no 
leverage  to  change  the  MPAAs  decisions. 
Requiem  for  a  Dream,  which  I  produced, 
is  the  latest  film  to  suffer  from  this  restric- 
tive ratings  system.  Adapted  from  a  novel 
by  American  literary  legend  Hubert  Selby 
Jr.,  Requiem  for  a  Dream  follows  four  char- 
acters who  attempt  to  fill  the  emptiness 
they  have  inside  with  their  various  addic- 
tions. The  film's  climax  is  an  extremely 
harrowing  vision  of  the  depths  that  these 
characters  descend  to  in  the  battle  with 
their  addictions. 

The  MPAA  found  the  climax  to  be 
overpowering  and  gave  the  film  an  NC-17 
rating.  Artisan  Entertainment  attempted 
to  appeal  this  judgment  and  their  appeal 
was  rejected.  As  Artisan  is  not  a  signato- 
ry of  the  MPAA  they  do  not  have  to  con- 
form to  its  ratings  guidelines  and  chose  to 
release  the  film  without  a  rating.  Unfor- 
tunately, theater  owners  took  the  unprece- 


dented step  of  demanding  that  Artisan  put 
a  warning  in  its  ads  stating  that  they  would 
not  allow  anyone  under  17  to  see  the  film 
and  hired  security  guards  to  enforce  these 
measures. 

The  ratings  controversy  and  its  fallout 
have  been  very  disheartening  to  me. 
Requiem  for  a  Dream  is  a  cautionary  tale 
about  the  potential  dangers  of  addiction. 
It's  unfortunate  that  the  film's  powerful 
moral  themes  cannot  reach  the  young 
adult  audience  that  it  could  affect  the  most 
due  to  the  decision  of  a  few  paid  jurors  who 
have  no  public  accountability.  Many  par- 
ents may  not  want  their  children  to  see 
Requiem  for  a  Dream.  I  can  understand  why 
and  feel  that  they  have  the  right  to  make 
that  determination.  However,  I  also  believe 
that  many  parents  will  want  their  children 
to  see  this  movie  under  proper  adult  guid- 
ance, thereby  receiving  the  film's  powerful 
message.  It  would  be  unfair  to  deny  parents 
that  choice.  It  is  for  just  such  a  choice  that 
the  R  rating  was  intended. 

Ultimately,  I  have  no  issue  with  ratings 
guidelines  for  parents,  as  long  as  they 
remain  guidelines  and  don't  carry  restric- 
tions. The  NC-17  rating  takes  away  a  par- 
ent's right  to  choose  what  is  best  for  their 
children.  If  the  MPAA  were  a  government 
organization,  the  NC-17  rating  would  be 
unconstitutional. 

Jack  Valenti,  head  of  the  MPAA,  has 
effectively  argued  for  30  years  that  if  the 
motion  picture  industry  does  not  police 
itself  then  the  government  will.  FTC  chair 
Robert  Pitofsky  recently  commented,  "If 
self-regulation  doesn't  solve  the-  problem 
and  existing  laws  don't  cut  it,  legislation 
respectful  of  the  First  Amendment  must 
be  considered."  This  sentiment  has  strong 
bipartisan  support  in  the  Senate,  with  both 
Democratic  Sen.  Joseph  Lieberman  and 
Republican  Sen.  John  McCain  threatening 
legislation  if  the  film  industry  doesn't  clean 
up  its  act. 

The  First  Amendment  clearly  protects 
the  freedom  of  speech,  and  a  standard  of 
obscenity  was  defined  by  the  Supreme 
Court  in  Miller  v.  California  in  L973  which 
establishes  a  three -part  test: 


"The  basic  guidelines  for  the  trier  of  fact 
must  be: 

(a)  whether  'the  average  person,  applying 
contemporary  community  standards' 
would  find  that  the  work,  taken  as  a 
whole,  appeals  to  the  prurient  inter- 
est; 

(b)  whether  the  work  depicts  or  describes, 
in  a  patently  offensive  way,  sexual 
conduct  specifically  defined  by  the 
applicable  state  law;  and 

(c)  whether  the  work,  taken  as  a  whole 
lacks  serious  literary,  artistic,  political, 
or  scientific  value." 

Note  that  part  (a)  does  employ  commu- 
nity standards.  However,  all  three  parts 
must  be  met  for  a  work  to  be  deemed 
obscene,  and  part  (c),  as  the  Court  has 
held  elsewhere,  is  a  national  threshold,  not 
a  community  test. 

If  this  standard  were  applied  to  Requiem 
for  a  Dream  there  would  be  no  doubt  that 
it  does  not  appeal  to  a  prurient  interest 
and  that  it  does  not  lack  serious  literary, 
artistic,  and  political  value.  But  ultimate- 
ly this  is  a  judgment  best  left  to  the  indi- 
vidual, not  to  me  or  any  other  group,  leg- 
islative or  otherwise. 

It  would  be  arrogant  and  foolhardy  to 
deny  that  there  is  overwhelming  support 
for  effective  ratings  guidelines  in  our 
nation;  however,  when  these  guidelines 
become  blanket  enforcement  proclama- 
tions like  the  NC-17  rating,  they  begin  to 
infringe  upon  an  individual's  freedom  of 
self-determination.  This  problem  is  further 
compounded  when  video-store  chains  or 
theaters  refuse  to  carry  material  based 
upon  these  ratings  guidelines.  When  law- 
makers (Congress),  or  paid  juries 
(MPAA),  or  exhibitors,  or  retail  chains 
begin  to  make  these  choices  tor  us,  they 
erode  our  basic  freedoms. 

It  is  time  for  the  MPAA  to  recognize 
that  the  NC-17  rating  is  unconstitutional 
due  to  its  restrictive  nature  and  to  create  a 
standardized  set  of  guidelines  that  do  not 
impose  restrictions  upon  the  individual's 
right  to  choose  what  is  best  tor  their  chil- 
dren. 

Eric  Watson  is  a  freelance  writer  who  has  con- 

tributed  to  URB  and  RES.  He  co-founded 

Protozoa  Pictures  with  Darren  Aronofsky,  has 

produced  Requiem  for  .1  Dream  and  n,  and 

was  an  executive  producer  on  Saturn. 


January/Februan    2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      15 


Tag  Team 


Movie  Magic  s  Screenwriter  2000 
allows  co-writing  of  scripts  on-line. 

by    Paul   Power 


tionize  the  often  painfully  frustrat- 
ing aspect  of  co-writing. 

Screenwriter  2000  is  an  immense 
improvement  on  Movie  Magic's 
last  offering,  Screenwriter.  Its  addi- 
tional features  include  the  ability 
to  import  stories  from  Dramatica 
4.0,  and  to  export  to  Movie  Magic 
Scheduling.  It  has  a  handy  tagging 
feature  which  highlights  items  that 
various  departments,  such  as 
props,  costume,  camera — even 
security! — need  to  be  aware  of. 
Script  formatting  templates  for 
film,  TV,  stage,  and  even  radio, 
which  are  now  standard  to  most 
scriptwriting  programs,  are  includ- 
ed here,  and  Screenwriter  2000  has 
developed  some  useful  shortcuts 
using  just  the  Tab  and  Return  (or 
Enter)  keys. 
But  Screenwriter  2000's  real  break- 
through is  its  collaborative  screenwriting 
feature,  iPartner.  It's  such  a  simple  premise 
that  it's  a  wonder  nobody  thought  of  it 
before:  the  software  enables  creative 
teams  to  work  simultaneously  on  the  same 
script  over  the  Internet.  The  program, 
which  ships  in  an  easy-to-install  PC/Mac- 
compatible  CD-ROM,  was  tested  on  an 
iMac  with  OS  8.1  and  25  MB  (of  64) 
RAM  available.  Installation  of  the  pro- 
gram on  Macs  requires  OS  7.1  or  later,  12 
MB  RAM,  and  15  MB  of  hard  disk  space; 
PCs  require  Windows  95,  98,  2000,  or  NT, 
8MB  RAM,  and  25  MB  of  hard  disk  space. 
I  tested  the  program  with  a  colleague  in 
New  York  who  was  using  her  Mac  at  work 
for  the  purpose.  However,  her  company's 
firewall  proved  insurmountable,  and  so 
the  test  was  eventually  conducted  with 
another  writing  partner  on  a  Mac  at 
home:  the  program  requires  that  the 
writer/owner  of  Screenwriter  2000  (let's 
call  them  writer  1)  forward  their  IP 
address  to  their  collaborator  (writer  2).  A 


A  writer/director  once  told  me  that 
he  had  only  two  words  of  advice  for  any 
aspiring  screenwriter:  Finish  it.  That 
sounds  easier  than  it  actually  is,  however, 
and  while  typing  "The  End"  at  the  end  of 
a  first  draft  is  a  tremendous  achievement, 
it's  worth  bearing  in  mind  that  in  reality 
it's  only  the  beginning. 

The  real  craft  of  screenwriting  is  not  in 
the  writing,  but  in  the  rewriting,  whether 
that's  an  additional  draft  for  the  producer, 
another  draft  with  your  co-writer,  or  your 
own  final  "polish"  draft  as  writer/director. 
When  two  parties  are  involved,  the  prac- 
ticalities are  cumbersome  and  many's  the 
writer  who  has  fallen  foul  of  faxed  drafts 
with  penciled-in  amendments  or  emailed 
attachments  with  new  or  changed  text. 
The  problems  with  both  of  these  options 
are  technical  ones — illegibility  of  faxes  or 
corruption  of  files — and  quite  often  the 
only  way  to  straighten  things  out  is 
through  lengthy  long-distance  phone 
calls.  That's  where  Movie  Magic's  new 
collaborative  Internet  writing  software, 
Screenwriter  2000,  seems  set  to  revolu- 


fixed  IP  address  through  a  Tl,  DSL,  or 
cable  modem  allows  writer  2  to  get  in 
touch  with  writer  1  at  any  time.  However, 
those  of  us  on  dial-up  modems,  where  the 
IP  address  changes  each  time  a  new  con- 
nection is  made,  have  to  either  phone 
writer  2  with  the  IP  address,  email  it,  or 
use  AOLs  Instant  Messenger  program  to 
forward  it. 

Once  writer  1  makes  connection  with 
writer  2,  a  pair  of  dialogue  box  windows 
appear  stacked  one  above  the  other  on 
each  writer's  screen.  These  allow  for  mes- 
sages to  be  sent  like  Instant  Messenger,  the 
bottom  window  for  composition  of  the 
message  and  the  top  for  the  posting  of 
writers'  back-and-forth  correspondence. 
The  three  levels  of  script  interaction 
between  writing  partners  which  follow 
could  be  termed  show  (or  send) ,  view,  and 
edit.  A  Send  Script  button  on  the  dialogue 
box  page  now  allows  the  script,  or  relevant 
portion,  to  be  sent.  Once  transferred,  the 
script  resides  on  the  drive  of  writer  2, 
where  it  can  be  read  and  printed. 

A  second  function,  Show  Partner,  opens 
a  window  beside  the  two  dialogue  boxes, 
allowing  writer  2  to  view  and  scroll 
through  writer  l's  script,  but  doesn't  give 
them  the  opportunity  to  edit.  (And  vice 
versa,  when  writer  2  sends  their  script  via 
the  Show  Partner  mode.)  Finally,  hitting 
the  Show  button  in  the  View  mode  effec- 
tively permits  both  writers  to  write  on  the 
"live"  script  in  real  time. 

Watching  somebody  else's  words  appear 
in  your  script  on  your  screen  is  a  curious 
phenomenon.  It's  like  those  player  pianos 
in  old  Western  ghost  towns,  and  takes  a  bit 
of  getting  used  to.  In  our  initial  enthusiasm 
(and  impatience)  my  co-writer  and  I  found 
ourselves  overwriting  each  other  until  we 
realized  how  best  to  utilize  the  adjacent 
dialogue  boxes  to  indicate  who  was  going 
to  write  next,  on  what  page,  and  what  we 
were  going  to  write  (brief  or  long) .  Often 
we  found  that  a  quick  back  and  forth  obvi- 
ated the  necessity  for  a  change  that  one  or 
the  other  of  us  had  in  mind. 

After  each  session  ends,  both  writers 
can  agree  to  pick  up  on-line  next  time 
where  they  left  off,  or  to  continue  working 
individually  before  saving  the  most  current 
version  of  the  script.  Another  plus  to  the 
program  is  that  you  need  not  have  fixed 
writing  partners.  To  get  started,  all  your 
collaborator  needs  is  to  exchange  their  IP 


16     THE    INDEPENDENT     January/February  2001 


address  with  yours. 

This  is  a  really  nifty  piece  of  software, 
and  one  that  works  faster  and  better  with 
high-speed  access.  So  first  of  all,  this  is 
something  that  it's  recommended  you  do 
try  at  home.  As  your  collaborator  needs  to 
input  an  IR  if  you're  going  to  do  this  from 
work,  you  may  find  a  number  of  hurdles  in 
your  way  preventing  access.  Moreover,  the 
56K  dial-up  modem  I  used  during  this  test 
proved  to  be  insufficiently  powerful  to 
allow  another  function  to  operate,  the 
Voice  Chat  feature — where  you  can  talk  in 
real  time  with  your  collaborator  for  the 
price  of  a  local  call.  The  manufacturer's 
recommended  connection  is  a  high-speed 
one  such  as  an  ISDN,  DSL,  or  cable 
modem.  Additionally,  Voice  Chat  is  not  a 
cross-platform  feature,  operating  only 
between  two  Macs  or  two  PCs  and  will  not 
work  between  a  PC  and  a  Mac. 

Other  noteworthy  features  of  Screen- 
writer 2000  include  self-reformatting 
index  cards  and  a  Text  to  Speech  function, 
which  attributes  actors'  voices  to  your 
characters,  giving  you  the  opportunity  to 
hear  a  read-through  without  the  expense 
of  a  casting  call.  Smart  Check  (dubbed  "a 
virtual  proofreader")  corrects  formatting 
errors  prior  to  printing,  Note  Commander 
has  the  same  effect  as  placing  yellow  stick- 
ies  on  your  script,  flagging  points  for  revi- 
sion or  discussion,  and  Scene  Pilot  allows 
you  to  scroll  through  an  overview  of  your 
scenes,  listed  in  summary,  index  card  form. 

Finally,  one  quibble.  If  you're  one  of 
those  people  who  likes  the  way  Word  98 
underscores  misspellings  in  red,  you'll  love 
the  same  facility  in  Screenwriter  2000.  I 
found  it  a  distraction  during  writing — the 
sudden  appearance  of  a  red  mark  in  a  line 
is  an  unwelcome  interruption  to  a  flow  of 
thought,  and  I  preferred  instead  to  have 
the  function  switched  on  only  at  final  draft 
stage. 

The  Movie  Magic  Screenwriter  2000 
program,  which  comes  on  a  Mac/PC-com- 
patible CD-ROM,  retails  for  $269,  plus 
$9.95  S&H  ($50  int'l  S&H).  An  upgrade 
from  an  earlier  version  is  available  for  $89, 
as  are  compatible  upgrade  programs  from 
competitors,  such  as  Hollywood  Screen- 
writer (available  for  PC  only),  Final  Draft, 
Scriptware,  etc.  at  $134.95  each.  Contact: 
(800)  84-STORY  or  visit  www.screen- 
play.com 

Paul  Power  is  managing  editor 
of  The  Independent 


MERCER  STREET 


SI  111 


MEDIA  100  XS 

Discounts  for  Independents      PRO    TOOLS    2  iX 


^ 


Sound  Editing 


•Pi 


Non-Linear  Video  Editing 

Voice  Over     m 
Sound  Design 

)    Sound  Effects 


W 


Original  Music 
503-11  BroadwayRm.  5*9,  NYC    212.966.6-79-4 


[i]tvs 


Executive  Director 

Independent  Television  Service  (ITVS) 

San  Francisco,  CA 

ITVS  seeks  an  experienced,  visionary  executive  to  lead  dynamic  organization 
bringing  independently  produced  work  to  public  television.  Must  effectively 
lead  staff  of  25  and  work  with  the  ITVS  national  board,  organizational  part- 
ners, Corporation  for  Public  Broadcasting,  the  Public  Broadcasting  Service, 
and  other  constituent  organizations  and  individuals.  Qualifications  include: 
minimum  10  years  experience  in  organizational  management  including  pro- 
gram development  and/or  production  administration;  strong  track  record  in 
advocacy  and  non-profit  management;  entrepreneurial  approach  to  new  ini- 
tiatives; proven  ability  in  staff  supervision,  financial  management,  fundraising, 
policy  development  and  strategic  planning;  B.A.  (advanced  degree  preferred) 
or  equivalent  experience.   Excellent  communication  skills  are  required. 

In  addition  to  a  solid  commitment  to  the  ITVS  mission,  ideal  candidates  will 
demonstrate  significant  involvement  with  and  support  for  the  independent 
media  field;  understanding  of  public  television  organizations,  programming 
policies  and  governance;  commitment  to  diversity;  understanding  of  the 
needs  of  under-served  audiences;  and  knowledge  of  emerging  media  tech- 
nologies. 

ITVS  was  established  by  Congress  to  fund  and  present  independently  pro- 
duced programming  on  public  television.  Its  mission  is  to  support  productions 
that  involve  creative  risks,  advance  issues  and  represent  points  of  view  not 
usually  seen  on  public  or  commercial  television,  and  that  address  the  needs 
of  underserved  audiences,  particularly  minorities  and  children.  ITVS  supports 
producers  by  affording  them  artistic  control  and  championing  their  programs 
to  public  television  and  its  audiences.  Since  its  inception  in  1991.  ITVS  has 
funded  more  than  300  programs  for  public  television  distribution. 

Competitive  executive  salary.    ITVS  is  an  Equal  Opportunity  Employer. 

A  complete  description  of  responsibilities  and  qualifications  and  application 
guidelines  are  available  at  www.itvs.org.  Applications  accepted  through 
February  15,  2001. 


January/Februan     1001    THE    INDEPENDENT      17 


C* 


iiS^J  '/-''.• 


CXRCVIT 


en  garde 


"  Views  from 
the  Avant  Garde" 
at  the  New  York  Film  Festival. 

by   Brian   Frye 


Not  so  very  long  ago,  a 
lot  of  people  considered 
avant-garde  film  something 
of  a  dead  letter,  especially 
in  New  York.  It  was  diffi- 
cult to  make  a  convincing 
case  to  the  contrary,  espe- 
cially after  the  Collective 
for  Living  Cinema  folded  in 
the  late  eighties,  venues 
like  Anthology  Film 
Archives  and  Millennium 
Film  Workshop  looked  on 
the  verge  of  doing  the 
same,  and  even  the  New 
York  Film  Festival  can- 
celled its  Avant-Garde 
Visions  program.  One 
could  almost  forgive  even  partisans  for 
believing  that  the  avant-garde  had  given 
up  the  ghost. 

But  the  last  several  years  have  largely 
dispelled  that  erstwhile  pessimism.  Major 
historical  retrospectives  of  avant-garde 
film  at  the  Museum  of  Modern  Art  and 
the  Whitney,  among  others,  have  coincid- 
ed with  an  explosion  of  small-scale,  DIY 
venues  showing  new  films  by  younger  film- 
makers, with  both  finding  surprisingly 
large  and  dedicated  audiences.  In  Nov- 
ember, the  New  York-based  Sundance 
Channel  even  ran  programs  of  Stan 
Brakhage  and  company  on  cable  TV. 
Although  New  York  never  actually  ran  the 
risk  of  forfeiting  its  title  as  the  avant- 
heavyweight,  it's  looking  rather  less  peak- 
ish  than  awhile  back. 

Indisputably  among  the  catalysts  of  this 
unexpected  revival  is  the  Views  from  the 
Avant-Garde  showcase  at  the  New  York 
Film  Festival  (NYFF),  curated  by  Gavin 
Smith  and  Mark  McElhatten,  which  has 
reasserted  New  York's  status  as  the  must- 
visit  destination  for  aficionados  of  avant- 
garde  film. 

While  the  NYFF  has  shown  avant-garde 


Peter  Hutton's  fascination  with  landscapes  and  waterways  is  apparent  in  his 
latest  film,  Time  and  Tide. 


films  since  its  debut  in  1963,  the  real  pre- 
decessor to  Views  from  the  Avant-Garde 
was  Avant-Garde  Visions,  started  by 
Richard  Pena  when  he  took  over  as  pro- 
gram director  of  the 
NYFF  in  1988.  Con- 
sisting of  three  or  four 
films  chosen  by  the  reg- 
ular festival  selection 
committee,  the  pro- 
gram appeared  at  Alice 
Tully  Hall  and  was 
included  in  the  pack- 
age of  tickets  provided 
to  subscribers.  It  offer- 
ed a  broadly  polyglot 
perspective  on  the 
avant  garde,  showcas- 
ing new  films  by  both  avowed  avant- 
gardists  like  Brakhage  and  Warren  Sonbert 
and  festival- circuit  directors  arguably 
working  in  the  same  idiom  like  Aleksandr 
Sokhurov,  as  well  as  revivals  of  historically 
important  films  like  Jack  Smith's  Flaming 
Creatures.  For  many  festival  goers,  Avant- 
Garde  Visions  was  a  first  introduction  to 
avant-garde  film,  if  not  necessarily  a  wel- 
come one.  According  to  reports,  walkouts 


and  disruptive  audiences  were  a  nagging 
problem,  or  alternately,  a  heartening  indi- 
cation that  the  avant  garde  hadn't  entirely 
lost  its  capacity  to  epater  la  bourgeoisie. 

Dwindling  audiences  and  an  apparent 
lack  of  critical  interest  led  to  an  under- 
standable attenuation  of  institutional  sup- 
port. Events  came  to  a  head  in  1996,  when 
the  festival  committee  simply  neglected  to 
include  an  Avant-Garde  Visions  program. 
Although  Gavin  Smith  programmed  sev- 
eral experimental  shorts  preceding  the 
features  that  might  have  previously  been 
included  in  Avant-Garde  Visions  (Lewis 
Klahr's  Altair  and  Robert  Beavers's  Amor 
among  them) ,  its  absence  was  duly  noted. 

According  to  Smith,  however,  Richard 
Pena's  support  for  the  avant  garde  had 
hardly  waned.  He  responded  very  posi- 
tively when  Smith  and  McElhatten 
stepped  in  with  a  proposal  to  restore  some 
version  of  Avant-Garde  Visions,  and  the 
following  year  it  reappeared  in  its  new 
incarnation  as  Views  from  the  Avant- 
Garde.  At  Smith's  suggestion,  in  the  inter- 
im it  had  also  acquired  a  new  format:  four 
programs  held  in  the  Walter  Reade 
Theater,  rather  than  one  in  Alice  Tully 
Hall,  allowing  for  the  inclusion  of  more 
films  in  a  more  suitable  context.  More  sig- 
nificantly, it  no  longer  bore  the  stamp  of 
the  selection  committee  proper,  but  was 
curated  by  Gavin  Smith,  then  (and  still)  a 


This  year  most  of  the  programs  played 

to  a  full  house,  with  the  program  that 

included  Peter  Hutton's  Time  and  Tide  and 

Nathaniel  Dorsky's  Arbor  Vitae  not  only 

selling  out,  but  even  running  a  second  time 

to  accommodate  the  overflow  audience. 


*     ~'  <».**'««    »!■..-.:• 


curator  of  the  New  York  Video  Festival 
who  had  programmed  the  festival  shorts 
the  previous  year,  and  Mark  McElhatten, 
an  independent  film  curator  previously 
unaffiliated  with  the  Film  Society  of 
Lincoln  Center,  a  fact  which  changed  its 
entire  character.  For  the  first  time,  the 
avant  garde  had  acquired  something  of  a 
mandate  and  the  means  by  which  it  might 
be  credibly  realized. 


18    THE    INDEPENDENT    January/February  2001 


c 


For  its  first  couple  of  years,  audiences 
for  Views  of  the  Avant- Garde  were  spotty, 
but  they  have  grown  steadily.  This  year 
most  of  the  programs  played  to  a  full 
house,  with  the  program  that  included 
Peter  Hutton's  Time  and  Tide  and 
Nathaniel  Dorsky's  Arbor  Vitae  not  only 
selling  out,  but  even  running  a  second 
time  to  accommodate  the  overflow  audi- 
ence. It  was  Dorsky's  second  packed  house 
at  the  Walter  Reade  in  a  year  (another 
program  of  his  films  showed  last  February), 
a  phenomenal  response  which  I  found 
heartening.  Incidentally,  it's  no  fluke  that 
the  Dorsky/Hutton  show  was  so  popular,  as 
it  was  easily  the  strongest  program  in  the 
series.  In  addition,  it  was  a  particularly 
good  example  of  Smith  and  McElhatten's 
perceptive  programming,  as  the  two  films, 


Sharon  Lockhart's  Teatro  Amazonas-.  A  mesmeric  and 
trying  experiment  at  once. 

individually  superb,  complemented  one 
another  perfectly.  Hutton's  Time  arid  Tide, 
deeply  rooted  in  the  phenomenal  world  of 
water,  sky,  earth,  and  time,  was  carefully 
balanced  against  Dorsky's  Arbor  Vitae,  an 
intensely  metaphysical  meditation  on 
Being. 

Shot  largely  from  a  barge  as  it  was  guid- 
ed up  the  Hudson  River  from  New  York 
City  to  Albany  and  back,  Time  and  Tide 
continues  Hutton's  long-standing  fascina- 
tion with  landscape   and   the  waterways 
that  traverse  it.  Constructed  almost  like  a 
series  of  stills,  each  shot  separated  from  its 
fellows  by  a  short  stretch  of  black  leader, 
jITime  and  Tide  moves  at  a  peculiarly  delib- 
erate pace,  bordering  on  languor,  reflecting 
8the  ceaseless  flow  of  the  river.  Images  of 
^decrepit  and  deteriorating  industry  yield  to 
gmisty,  pastoral  scenes,  the  relentless  pro- 
gression of  one  into  another  suggesting  the 
^inevitable   dissolution   that   accompanies 
gthe  passage  of  time. 

§  A  filmmaker  for  over  30  years,  Dorsky's 
^austerely  beautiful  films  have  recently  gar- 
Enered  rave  reviews  from  the  New  York 


Times,  making  him  a  seemingly  unlikely 
new  star  of  the  avant  garde.  Arbor  Vitae, 
the  third  film  in  a  trilogy  that  includes 
Triste  and  Variations,  is  one  of  Dorsky's 
greatest  films  to  date,  a  distillation  and 
refinement  of  themes  that  in  retrospect 
emerge  with  new  clarity  and  consistency. 
Arbor  Vitae,  which  translates  as  "Tree  of 
Life,"  is  the  visual  equivalent  to  a  poem 
like  the  Gnostic  "Hymn  of  the  Pearl," 
revealing  the  extra-mundane  spark  that 
inhabits  the  living.  Through  some  mysteri- 
ous legerdemain,  he  transforms  the  quo- 
tidian contents  of  the  city  and  garden  into 
pregnant  metaphysical  symbols.  His 
images  are  juxtaposed  so  rightly  that  one 
almost  hesitates  to  call  the  process  editing. 
As  Brakhage  plumbed  the  chasm  between 
perception  and  the  Real,  Dorsky  searches 
for  the  traces  of  the  Ideal  in  the  material 
world.  If  Hutton  captures  the  flow  of  time, 
epitomized  in  the  inexorability  of  mortali- 
ty, Dorsky  causes  it  to  catch  its  breath, 
holding  that  elusive  "now"  just  long 
enough  to  make  it  real. 

Two  of  this  year's  films  borrowed  ele- 
ments from  ethnographic  film  to  interest- 
ing effect.  Sharon  Lockhart's  Teatro 
Amazonas  documents  an  audience's  reac- 
tion to  the  offscreen  performance  of  a 
minimalist  vocal  composition.  Set  in 
Brazil's  eponymously  titled  opera  house, 
the  film  consists  entirely  of  a  single  30- 
minute  take  of  the  audience,  shot  from  the 
stage,  followed  by  a  rather  interminable 
list  of  "cast"  and  crew.  The  audience  mem- 
bers, drawn  from  the  local  neighborhoods, 
alternately  shift  in  their  seats,  whisper  to 
one  another,  and  sleep.  Shot  on  35mm, 
Teatro  Amazonas  is  a  rather  sumptuous 
production  by  the  standards  of  the  avant 
garde.  However,  while  the  film  cemented 
Lockhart's  reputation  in  the  gallery  cir- 
cuit— a  full-page  feature  appeared  in 
Artforum  awhile  back — it  felt  rather  like  a 
footnote  to  a  Michael  Snow's  Wavelength 
(or  perhaps  a  lost  Monty  Python  seg- 
ment...), and  I  found  it  somewhat  under- 
whelming. For  35mm  the  picture  was  puz- 
zlingly  hazy  (possibly  a  function  of  the 
non-standard  3-perf  format  she  used),  ren- 
dering the  faces  of  the  audience  members 
basically  illegible.  I  was,  however,  quite 
taken  with  the  almost-Brownian  motion  of 
their  movements:  an  oddly  graceful  collec- 
tive dance,  spreading  across  the  sea  of 
bodies  and  subsiding. 


'The  best  regional  festival 
I  have  ever  attended." 

-  Eugene  Hernandez 
Editor-in-Chief.  indieWire 


tenth  annual 


Tm 


film  festival 


The  Southeast's  Premier     Jf>* 
Independent  Film  Event 


June  8-17  2001 


<f  6 


orlando,  I  lorida 

call  for 


early  deadline 
february  23 


late  deadline 
march  23 


EhIm  Theater 
1300  S.  OrlaaBe  ftveaae 
Haitian.  Fiarlla  32751 

Dhone  1407)  620-1081      lax  (407)  828-6070 


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January/February  2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      19 


CALL   FOR    ENTRIES 

6TH  ANNUAL  STONY  BROOK  FILM  FESTIVAL 

July  18-28,2001 

Staller  Center  for  the  Arts 

State  University  at  Stony  Brook,  Long  Island,  NY 


Competitions  in  16mm  and  35mm  films 
including  features,  shorts,  documentary 
and  animation.  Largest  venue  (1 ,000+  seats) 
and  film  screen  in  the  region  (40  ft.  wide)! 
Over  1  2,000  attendees  at  the  2000  Festival! 


2000  Stony  Brook  Film  Festival 
Filmaker  Reception  -  July  22,  2000 
-  Left  to  right:  Village  Voice  Critic, 
Michael  Atkinson;  Newsday  Chief 
Film  Critic,  John  Anderson; 
"Steal  This  Movie"  director, 
Robert  Greenwald; 
Festival  Director,  Alan  Inkles. 


For  more  information,  call  631-632-7233 

or  email  festival@stallercenter.com 

Entry  forms  are  available  online  at 

stallercenter.com/festival 

or  write  to: 
Stony  Brook  Film  Festival 
Staller  Center  for  the  Arts 
rm  2032,  SUNY  Stony  Brook 
Stony  Brook,  NY  1 1 794-5425 

Entry  Deadline:  April  1,  2001 


"...In  the  movie-crazed  town  of  Stony  Brook  on  the  campus  of  the  State  University  of  New  York,  they're  taking  a 

revolutionary   tack:    something    for   everybody.    Studio    Blockbusters.    Independents.    Short   films,    it's   visionary. 

It's  qroundbreakinq.  It's  cuttinq-edqe.  It's  nostalqic.  ,  L     a   j  m       j 

»  o      »  a  -  John  Anderson,  Newsday 


(i 


'-sJs  yui 


i. 


n  *  f 


Far  richer  and  more  compelling  was 
Mark  LaPore's  The  Glass  System.  Shot  in 
India,  Burma,  and  New  York,  The  Glass 
System  documents  the  intersection  of  work 
and  life  in  the  public  space  of  the  street. 
Composed  of  very  long,  static  takes  of  peo- 
ple engaged  in  their  everyday  tasks,  from  a 
man  sharpening  knives  to  young  girls  fold- 
ing pamphlets  to  a  child's  rough  tightrope 
act,  it  illuminates  the  practical  immediacy 
of  exchange.  As  people  perform  their  work 
in  public,  they  both  humanize  their  activi- 
ty and  announce  their  trade.  I  understood 
the  title  to  refer  to  the  transparency  of  the 
exchange  in  question:  like  a  picture -win- 
dow in  a  department  store,  the  goods  are 
expected  to  sell  themselves.  No  need  for 
an  explanatory  legend;  here  it  is,  before 
your  eyes. 

Apparently,  however,  the  actual  prove- 
nance of  the  title  is  rather  more  prosaic. 
According  to  LaPore,  the  water  in 
Calcutta  is  teeming  with  parasites  and 
quickly  sickens  those  Westerners  careless 
enough  to  ingest  even  the  least  bit  of  it. 
While  dining  at  a  Calcutta  restaurant,  he 
and  his  brother-in-law  ordered  two 
Limcas,  the  Indian  equivalent  to  7-Up. 
The  waiter  served  their  drinks  in  freshly- 
washed  glasses,  certainly  contaminated 
with  the  local  fauna.  Explaining  that  they 
would  still  pay  for  the  first  two,  LaPore 
asked  the  waiter  to  bring  two  more,  in  the 
bottle.  After  pondering  this  request,  the 
waiter  replied  that  he  could  not,  as  "we  use 
the  glass  system." 

I  was  surprised  to  catch  echoes  of  Joseph 
Cornell's  films  in  The  Glass  System,  espe- 
cially CotiH/on  and  The  Midnight  Party.  The 
trappings  of  a  mid- 1930s  bourgeois 
American  childhood,  as  mythologized  by 
Cornell,  are  eerily  reflected  in  LaPore's 
shyly  self-conscious  children  and  fragile 
child  mannequins,  posed  in  a  store  win- 
dow. The  disconcerting  spectacle  of  an 
astonishingly  young  girl  performing  a 
tightrope  act,  plodding  methodically  up 
and  back  on  the  rope,  further  recalled  the 
cheerily  terrifying  circus  exploits  of 
Cornell's  films.  Furthermore,  while  LaPore 
uses  much  longer  takes  than  Cornell 
(there  are  only  30  or  so  shots  in  this  25 
minute  film),  he  draws  relationships 
between  images  in  an  oddly  similar  fash- 
ion, the  picture  abruptly  dropping  out  to 
black  and  returning,  and  apparently  cut- 
ting only  when  absolutely  necessary.  The  j 


From  Mark  LaPore's  The  Glass  System. 

balance  between  rawness  and  polish 
achieved  thereby  is  exquisite,  lending  The 
Glass  System  an  air  of  quintessential^ 
Cornellian  jewel-like  perfection. 

Arguably  the  highest  profile  venue  for 
avant-garde  film  in  the  United  States, 
Views  from  the  Avant-Garde  is  nonethe- 
less distinguished  by  its  unpredictable  and 
idiosyncratic  lineup.  Despite  scattered 
protests  to  the  contrary,  over  the  last  cou- 
ple of  years  I  have  been  impressed  by  the 
breadth  of  selections,  which  this  year 
ranged  from  shorts  by  well-known  direc- 
tors like  Jean-Luc  Godard  and  Guy 
Maddin  through  important  avant-gardists 
like  Michael  Snow  to  newcomers  like 
Mary  Beth  Reed  and  Robert  Abate.  To 
their  credit,  Smith  and  McElhatten  have 
even  made  a  special  commitment  to  show- 
ing super  8  film,  despite  the  difficulty  of 
presenting  small  gauge  film  in  such  a  large 
space.  This  year,  Stom  Sogo  represented 
8mm  filmmaking  with  Slow  Death,  a  psy- 
chedelic collage  of  autobiographical 
images  set  to  the  cacophonous  roar  of  a 
club  mix,  part  of  which  Sogo  attributed  to 
an  unidentified  East  Village  teen. 

It  bears  notice  that  Views  From  the 
Avant-Garde  is  peculiar  among  festival 
programs  in  that  it  emphasizes  entire  pro- 
grams rather  than  individual  films.  In  gen- 
eral, festival  programmers  choose  short 
films  individually  and  cobble  them  togeth- 
er into  programs  of  appropriate  length.  In 
the  best  of  circumstances,  the  result  is 
more  or  less  serviceable;  often  it  can 
approach   travesty.    In    marked   contrast, 


Smith  and  McElhatten  put  uncommon 
care  into  the  construction  of  coherent  pro- 
grams. According  to  McElhatten,  they 
often  watch  submissions  eight  or  more 
times  in  various  combinations  before 
deciding  on  the  constitution  of  the  pro- 
grams. 

While  I  haven't  always  been  entirely 
convinced  by  their  choices,  their  attention 
to  the  often  neglected  role  of  the  curator 
in  shaping  the  reception  of  films  via  their 
context  is  immediately  apparent,  as  in  the 
case  of  one  of  this  year's  briefest  films, 
Michael  Mideke's  two-minute  Twig. 
Mideke's  1967  film,  only  now  premiering 
in  New  York,  makes  a  virtue  out  of 
extremely  limited  means,  its  graphically 
austere  black-and-white  forms  hold  and 
slipping  past  the  frame  just  fast  enough  to 
resist  positive  identification.  Not  only  did 
the  gradually  raised  and  lowered  lights  that 
separated  each  film  from  the  rest  help  to 
prevent  this  wonderful  little  film  from  get- 
ting lost,  but  its  rawly  material  images  of 
overlapping  branch-like  forms  recalled  the 
rapid-fire  superimpositions  of  Slow  Death 
while  anticipating  the  muted  gray-scale  of 
the  Quays'  In  Absentia. 

While  this  attention  to  detail  is,  to  my 
mind,  essential  to  the  credibility  of  the 
programs,  it  has  prompted  some  criticism, 
especially  as  it  tends  to  emphasize  the 
interests  of  the  curators.  Unlike  their  pre- 
decessors, Smith  and  McElhatten  do  not 
draw  exclusively  from  formal  festival  sub- 
missions, but  actively  solicit  films  from 
artists,  which  can  all  too  easily  lead  to 
accusations  of  partiality. 

The  proof,  however,  is  in  the  pudding, 
and  while  the  curators'  fingerprints  are 
very  much  in  evidence,  I  don't  believe  that 
their  programming  is  in  any  way  compro- 
mised. Asked  to  comment  on  the  elusive 
art  of  film  programming,  which  relies  so 
heavily  on  its  not-always-cooperative  ele- 
ments, McElhatten  replied,  "I  am  wedded 
to  imperfection  and  imperfect  arts,  but  I 
would  never  want  the  films  to  surrender 
and  become  more  malleable  to  my  pro- 
grams. Rather,  I  attempt  to  find  uncharac- 
teristic ways  of  looking  at  or  putting  films 
in  relief  that  [they]  themselves  substanti- 
ate and  suggest."  A  curator  could  hardly 
ask  lor  a  more  humble — or  demanding 


Brian  Inv  is  a  filmmaker,  curator,  and 
freelance,  writer  living  m  blew  York  City. 


January/February  2001  T  H  E    INDEPENDENT      21 


c 


ED 


fife  is  for  Defiance 

Emile  de  Antonio:  A  Reader 

Douglas  Kellner  and  Daniel  G.  Streible,  eds.  (Univ.  of  Minnesota  Press,  2000), 

$24.95  paper;  392  pgs. 


by   Brian    Frye 


NTIL  HE  SAW 
his  FBI  file 
for  the  first 
time,  Emile 
de  Antonio 
had  no  recol- 
lection of  an 
incident  in 
his  youth 

when,  asked 
what  he  really  wanted  to  do  when  he  grew 
up,  replied,  "I  think  I'd  like  to  he  an  egg- 
plant." But  J.  Edgar  Hoover's  men  in 
trenchcoats  dutifully  recorded  this  ludi- 
crous non  sequitur  in  the  300-page  file  of 
a  man  who  later  became  the  only  film- 
maker on  Dick  Nixon's  "enemies"  list. 
One  of  de  Antonio's  favorite  anecdotes, 
this  little  gem  states  succinctly  his  rela- 
tionship to  the  government  he  loved  to 
hate. 

The  first  full-length  hook  on  de 
Antonio's  films,  Douglas  Kellner  and 
Daniel  G.  Streihle's  superb  Emile  de 
Antonio:  A  Reader  is  a  long-overdue 
appreciation  of  one  of  America's  greatest 
independent  filmmakers.  Probably  best 
known  today  for  his  seminal  first  film, 
Point  of  Order! ,  a  damning  indictment  of 
Joe  McCarthy  created  entirely  from  the 
188  hours  of  kinescope  footage  of  the 
1954  Army-McCarthy  hearings,  the 
quixotic  de  Antonio  was  one  of  the  deans 


of  the  New  American  Cinema. 
Gadfly  and  iconoclast,  self- 
described  "half-baked"  radical 
and  bon  vivant,  de  Antonio 
was  equally  interested  in  Andy 
Warhol  and  Ho  Chi  Minh,  the 
kind  of  Marxist  who  believes  in 
Justice  and  the  Truth,  the  pur- 
suit of  which  he  considered  his 
patriotic  duty. 

Prefaced    by    the    editors' 
somewhat    dry    but    exceedingly    well- 
informed  summary  of  de  Antonio's  career, 
the  raison  d'etre 


to  de  Antonio's  preferred  style,  the  editors' 
collage  of  short  essays  and  interviews  suits 
de  Antonio  perfectly.  The  caustic  wit  of 
his  films — his  Nixon  anti-hagiography 
Millhouse:  A  White  Comedy  is  a  Horatio 
Alger  story  cast  as  Groucho  Marxist 
sendup — is  plenty  evident  in  his  sparring 
interviews  and  sarcastic  letters  to  the  edi- 
tor. De  Antonio  makes  his  case  for  a  gen- 
uinely political  cinema  in  scathingly 
vicious  attacks  on  the  puerility  of 
Hollywood  filmmaking  and  its  quisling  lib- 
eral pieties.  A  particularly  blistering  pan  of 
Peter  Davis's  Hearts  and  Minds  (which 
incidentally  lifted  several  sequences  from 
de  Antonio's  own  In  the  Year  of  the  Pig) , 
berating  Davis's  callowness  and  inability  to 
comprehend  the  political  reality  of 
Vietnam,  underlines  his  insistence  on  film- 
makers taking  responsibility  for  uncover- 
ing the  truth  that  only  primary  documents 
can  provide. 

Not  one  to  pull  any  punches,  de 
Antonio  was  one  of  those  singular  people 
who  can  draw  blood  while  interviewing 
themselves.  Notoriously  self-aggrandizing 
and  an  inveterate  tale-spinner,  de 
Antonio's  accounts  of  the  making  of  his 
films  are  generally  hilarious,  often  at  his 


Not  one  to  pull  any  punches,  de 
Antonio  was  one  of  those  singular 
people  who  can  draw  blood  while 
interviewing  themselves. 


of  the  book  is  its 
fantastic   collec- 
tion    of     inter- 
views, well- 
selected  contem- 
porary film 
reviews  by  both 
boosters        and 
detractors,  and  short  essays 
by  de  Antonio  and  his  col- 
laborators. 
Perhaps  an  oblique  homage 


Emile  de 
Antonio's  first 
and  best- 
known  film, 
Point  of 
Order!,  an 
indictment  of 
Senator  Joe 
McCarthy. 


own  expense:  witness  Drunk,  made  with 
Andy  Warhol,  in  which  he  drinks  a  quart 
of  scotch  in  20  minutes,  proceeding  to  col- 
lapse in  a  gibbering  stupor. 

While  the  editors'  take  on  de  Antonio's 
films  and  ideas  is,  I  suspect,  rather  more 
orthodox  than  he  would  have  preferred, 
they  thankfully  refrain  from  the  pompous 
rhetoric  that  blights  most  recent  academic 
film  writing  and  basically  let  the  reviews 
and  interviews  speak  for  themselves.  It's  to 
their  advantage,  as  it  showcases  their  obvi- 
ously exhaustive  research  (their  bibliogra- 
phy is  phenomenal)  and  astute  selections. 

Brian  Frye  is  a  filmmaker,  curator,  and  freelance 
writer  living  in  New  York  City. 


22     THE    INDEPENDENT    January/February  2001 


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MAKING 


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Desktop  Wizardry 

Visual  effects,  animation,  and  compression  software 
for  your  desktop  editing  system. 


y   Greg   Gi  lpatrick 


Adobe 
After  Effects  4.1 

The  ultimate  tool  for  motion  graphics  and  visual  effects 


Adobe 


After  Effects:  The  Timeline 
Window  graphically  represents 
the  composition's  elements  and 
effects. 

sive.  If  you're  the  kind  of 
person  who  has  explored 
every  option,  effect,  and 
preference  inside  your 
current  editing  applica- 
tion, then  you'll  be  very 
interested  in  the  products 
here.  But  if  you  tend  to 
curse  your  computer,  you 
should  probably  just  con- 
sider this  a  guide  to  what's 
available  at  your  local  post 
house. 


composite,  there  are  applications  available 
today  that  enable  you  to  do  this  work  at 
home.  In  fact,  the  emergence  of  composit- 
ing tools  at  the  relative  low- end  has  creat- 
ed a  new  job  category  in  the  past  few  years: 
"motion  graphics,"  or  graphic  designer  for 
film  and  video. 

After  Effects  (Mac  or  Windows;  standard 
version  $649;  production  bundle  version 
$1,499;  www.adobe.com/products/afteref- 
fects/)  is  the  industry  standard  for  com- 
positing on  PCs.  After  Effects  (commonly 
referred  to  as  "AE")  allows  you  to  bring 
together  video  clips,  Adobe  Photoshop  or 
Illustrator  files,  and  sound  clips  to  create 
multi-layered  compositions  at  almost  any 
resolution,  from  the  smallest  web-sized 
clip  to  an  Imax  film.  The  settings  for  each 
element  is  "keyframable,"  which  means 
you  can  set  the  location,  size,  opacity,  and 
other  properties  of  an  element  at  specific 
points  in  time.  For  example,  you  can  take 
a  logo  and  place  it  on  the  left  side  of  your 
screen  at  the  beginning  of  your  clip,  then 
set  it  at  the  right  side  for  the  end  of  your 
clip.  AE  will  automatically  move  your  logo 
between  the  points,  moving  at  the  speed  of 
your  selected  duration. 

After  Effects  is  also  known  for  its  piug- 


The  past  few  years  have  seen  startling 
growth  in  both  computer  and  video  tech- 
nologies' capacities,  along  with  a  substan- 
tial decrease  in  cost.  The  most  noticeable 
outcome  of  the  new  capabilities  of  smaller 
and  cheaper  systems  is  the  near  ubiquity 
of  home  editing  systems  using  Final  Cut 
Pro,  Premiere,  or  a  number  of  other  non- 
linear editing  applications.  For  many  inde- 
pendent mediamakers,  editing  at  home  on 
a  computer  is  now  a  forgone  conclusion. 

Mediamakers  who  have  been  using  dig- 
ital nonlinear  systems  for  years  may  won- 
der what  additional  tools  are  now  avail- 
able for  their  desktop  set-ups.  Not  surpris- 
ingly, advanced  postproduction  tools  that 
only  a  few  years  ago  were  an  option  for 
only  high-budget  productions  are  now 
available  for  use  on  personal  computers. 
This  article  looks  at  a  sampling  of  visual 
effects,  animation,  and  compression  software 
cunently  on  the  market.  Each  utility  can 
help  producers  jump  to  the  next  level  of  pro- 
duction values  without  breaking  the  bank. 

These  programs  aren't  for  everyone; 
they  are  complicated  and  can  be  expen- 


Ocean  Comp  •  Time  Layout 


Compositing  Software 

Video  compositing  is  the  act  of  layering 
multiple  video  elements  over  each  other. 
Think  of  a  TV  meteorologist  in  front  of  a 
weather  map:  that  is  a  simple  video  com- 
posite. Compositing  applications  can  place 
hundreds  of  still  and  video  elements  over 
each  other  to  create  complex  animations 
and  effects.  While  many  high-budget  pro- 
ductions  use    high-end   workstations   to 


ins;  these  are  small  programs  that  alter  the 
look  of  your  video.  The  standard  version  of 
AE  comes  with  a  variety  of  them,  but 
you'll  find  the  most  useful  ones  come  with 
the  "production  bundle,"  which  is  sold  at  a 
premium.  (The  pro  version  provides  more 
sophisticated  tools  that  simplify  complex 
tasks,  but  unless  you  know  you  need  it, 
you'll  probably  be  fine  with  standard.) 
Several  smaller  companies  produce  plug- 
ins  that  you  can  buy  separately  that  add 
even   more   functionality.    For   example, 


24    THE    INDEPENDENT    January/February  2001 


DigiEffects'  Cinelook  (Mac/Windows, 
$695,  www.digieffects.com)  can  make  your 
video  footage  appear  like  it  was  shot  on 
film  by  changing  the  color  gamma,  increas- 
ing contrast,  and  adding  dust  or  scratches. 
Recently  some  other  programs  have  added 
the  ability  to  accept  third-party  AE  plug- 
ins,  including  Final  Cut  Pro,  Commo- 
tion, and  Combustion  (see  below) . 

After  Effects  is  a  complex  piece  of  soft- 
ware and  can  be  daunting  to  learn.  How- 
ever, it  can  make  a  profound  impact  on 
what  might  seem  possible  for  your  own 
productions.  If  you  decide  to  use  AE,  I  rec- 
ommend the  book  Creating  Motion 
Graphics  with.  After  Effects,  by  Trish  and 
Chris  Myers  (CMP  Books,  2000,  San 
Francisco)  an  excellent  guide  to  AE  and 
digital  video  technology  as  well. 

Combustion  (Mac  or  Windows  NT, 
$3,495,  www.discreet.com)  is  a  new  tool, 
barely  released  at  press  time,  but  it's  being 
taken  seriously  because  it  is  made  by 
Discreet,  a  company  that  makes  high-end 
Oscar-winning  compositing  systems. 
Combustion  borrows  the  high- end  inter- 
face and  tools  from  Discreet's  workstation 
programs  (Flint,  Flame,  and  Inferno)  and 
puts  them  on  the  desktop  of  lower- end  sys- 
tems. 

Combustion  performs 
a  number  of  tasks  that 
normally  would  need 
several  applications  to 
do  as  well.  Painting, 
compositing,  and  color 
correction  are  its  three 
main  areas,  and  it  han- 
dles each  impressively. 
One  unique  tool  is 
Combustion's  ability  to 
import  Adobe  Illust- 
rator files,  edit,  and  ani- 
mate them,  similar  to 
Flash,  the  Internet  ani- 
mation tool.  Most  producers  will  suffer 
from  sticker  shock  when  considering 
Combustion,  but  for  those  who  perform  a 
lot  of  compositing  and  painting  it  could  be 
a  wise  investment,  especially  since  its  files 
can  be  transferred  to  Discreet's  high-end 
systems  for  finishing. 

Final  Cut  Pro  (Mac,  $999,  www.apple. 
com/finalcutpro)  is  well  known  as  an  edit- 
ing application,  but  it  also  allows  you  to 
composite  video  and  still  elements.  Final 


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Cut  can  import  Adobe  Photoshop  docu- 
ments and  animate  their  layers  indepen- 
dently. Combustion  and  AE  allow  you  to 
do  this  as  well,  but  if  you  already  use  Final 
Cut  for  editing,  you  can  start  compositing 
today  without  having  to  spend  several 
hundred  dollars.  Final  Cut's  tools  are  more 
limited  and  its  interface  isn't  optimized  for 
this  type  of  work  in  the  way  a  dedicated 
compositor's  would  be,  but  it  is  a  good 
place  to  start  before  deciding  to  purchase  a 
new  program. 

Animation  and  Rotoscoping 

The  ability  to  use  your  computer  to  paint 
on  video  frames  opens  up  new  possibilities 
for  adding  animations  or  altering  the  real- 
ity captured  by  your  camera.  "Roto- 
scoping" is  the  process  of  using  live -action 
video  as  a  guide  to  painting  realistic  ani- 
mation. Many  of  these  programs  do  much 
more  than  paint,  however.  As  an  example, 
Combustion  has  as  many  paint  tools  as  it 
does  compositing  and  is  a  fine  high- end 
platform  for  rotoscoping. 

Commotion  (Mac  or  Windows  NT,  pro 
version  $1,995;  DV  version  $795; 
www.puffindesigns.com)  is  a  tool  that  does 
two  things  extremely  well:  painting  and 
advanced  matte  creation.  Commotion  was 
originally  created  by  Scott  Squires,  head  of 
Visual  Effects  at  Industrial  Light  and 
Magic,  and  was  being  used  on  feature  pro- 
ductions before  it  was  ever  released  to  the 
public.  Squires  formed  Puffin  Designs  to 
sell  Commotion  after  realizing  that  it  could 
revolutionize  the  way  people  create  video 
and  film  on  the  desktop.  In  at  least  one 
way  it  did.  Commotion  uses  a  technique 
called  "Ram  Caching"  that  allows  your 
computer  to  playback  video  in  real-time 
without  an  expensive  RAID  hard-drive 
system.  Most  of  the  programs  in  this  article 
now  implement  this,  but  Commotion 
deserves  credit  for  being  the  first  to  bring  it 
to  personal  computers. 

A  matte  is  a  part  of  a  video  clip  that 
defines  transparent  areas.  Mattes  are  an 
integral  part  of  the  compositing  process 
because  they  allow  images  and  video  clips 
to  be  placed  together  in  one  composition. 
Commotion  excels  at  matte  rotoscoping 
because  it  allows  you  define  the  edges  of 
your  matte  at  frames  you  choose  and  then 
it  interpolates  the  movement  between  the 
two  frames.  I  recently  used  this  method  on 


The  compositing  workspace  in  Combustion. 

a  shot  where  a  girl's  hearing  aid  needed  to 
be  separated  from  her  head  while  she  ran 
in  place.  I  set  the  edges  of  my  matte 
around  the  hearing  aid  with  keyframes 
every  10  frames  and  then  made  any  adjust- 
ments needed  in  between.  The  result  was 
a  video  clip  that  had  only  the  hearing  aid 
visible.  Commotion  recently  added  a  com- 
positing system  similar  to  AE's. 

Commotion's  painting  tools  are  similar 
to  the  ones  found  in  Adobe  Photoshop. 
The  program  allows  painting  with  stan- 
dard colors,  a  clone  brush  that  copies 
other  parts  of  your  frame,  or  "FX  Brushes" 
that  let  you  use  textures  as  diverse  as  oil 
paint  or  laser  blasts.  The  clone  brush  could 
be  used  to  cover  up  unwanted  elements  in 
a  frame  like  a  mic  cable  or  lens  flare. 
Commotion  includes  an  intuitive  way  to 
record  your  paint  strokes  so  they  can  be 
painted  out  over  the  duration  of  your 
video  or  recorded  in  whole  over  every 
frame.  Using  the  first  method,  you  could 
write  out  a  word,  then  have  it  look  like 
someone  is  writing  it  over  your  clip  as  it's 
playing. 

Traditional  cell-based  animators  should 
also  consider  Commotion.  One  of  its  fea- 
tures, called  "Cartoon  Fill,"  allows  you  to 
take  a  series  of  inked  drawings  and  define 
what  colors  to  paint  each  area  with.  This 
allows  you  keep  your  work  hand- drawn, 
but  cuts  down  on  the  time  and  money 
spent  on  painting  by  hand. 

Like  After  Effects,  Commotion  comes  in 
two  versions — expensive  and  less  expen- 
sive. The  less  expensive  version,  Commo- 
tion DV,  comes  with  all  the  features  dis- 


cussed above  but  lim- 
its your  work's  size  to 
Dl  video.  If  you  are 
working  with  a  Dl  or 
smaller  format  (DV, 
Betacam,  3/4")  you 
should  consider 

Commotion  DV. 
Final  Cut  Pro  owners 
can  receive  a  limited 
version  of  Com- 
motion DV  for  free. 
For  larger  format 
work  (HD,  film), 
there  is  Commotion 
Pro,  which  allows  any 
size  up  to  Imax  film 
and  includes  extra 
tools  and  plug-ins.  As 
with    After    Effects, 

you  pay  a  premium  for  the  more  advanced 

version. 

RotoDV  (Mac,  $399,  www.digitalorigin. 
com)  is  a  relative  newcomer  from  the 
makers  of  the  popular  editing  program 
EditDV  and  has  a  lot  in  common  with 
Commotion.  It  offers  similar  painting  tools 
and  utilizes  the  same  RAM-caching  tech- 
nique for  real-time  playback  of  your  video 
clips.  However,  RotoDV  has  an  unimpres- 
sive history — it  hasn't  been  used  in  any 
well-known  movies,  doesn't  have  testimo- 
nials on  its  web  site  from  major  effects 
houses,  and  hasn't  had  a  major  upgrade 
since  it  was  first  released  about  a  year  ago. 
The  one  major  advantage  to  RotoDV  is 
that  it  is  several  hundred  dollars  cheaper 
than  any  other  animation  programs.  If  all 
you  want  to  do  is  touch  up  your  video,  add 
some  modest  effects,  or  rotoscope  anima- 
tion, RotoDV  can  accomplish  all  these 
tasks    at    a    price 


Res 


26    THE    INDEPENDENT    January/February  2001 


RotoDV:  One  of  the  cheapest 
and  most  basic  animation  program. 


lower  than  any  of  the  other  applications  in 
this  article.  Like  Commotion  DV,  RotoDV 
cannot  work  on  video  larger  than  Dl. 

Internet  Video  Compression 

For  those  who  want  to  show  their  work 
over  the  Internet,  one  application  is  near- 
ly indispensable:  Media  Cleaner  Pro  (Mac 
or  Windows,  $599,  www.terran.com)  takes 
video  and  audio  and  creates  compressed 
clips  in  QuickTime,  Windows  Media,  Real 
Player,  and  MP3  formats.  Preparing  media 
for  Internet  distribution  uses  a  process 
called  compression  that  makes  the  file  as 


on  a  few  questions  it  asks  you  about  your 
media.  Media  Cleaner  EZ  is  a  simpler  ver- 
sion that  incorporates  just  the  wizard  por- 
tion of  the  program.  The  EZ  version  is 
included  with  several  video  applications 
for  free,  including  Final  Cut  Pro  and 
EditDV. 

Shareware 

The  computer  world  is  one  of  the  few 
places  where  many  authors  feel  inclined  to 
give  their  products  away  for  free.  While  I 
only  list  one  product  here,  there  is  a  vast 
amount  of  shareware  out  there.  You  can 


Project  DV  Capture 


Media  Cleaner 
Pro:  Takes  video 
and  audio  and 
creates  com- 
pressed clips  for 
broadcast  over 
the  Internet. 


small  as  possi- 
ble. Although 
simple  sound- 
ing, good  com- 
pression is  an  art  that  is  equal  parts  aes- 
thetics and  technical  ability.  A  compressed 
video  clip  needs  to  be  as  small  a  file  as  pos- 
sible while  retaining  enough  quality  to  sat- 
isfy its  audience.  Media  Cleaner  Pro  pro- 
vides an  interface  with  enough  sliders, 
check  boxes,  and  menus  to  confound  the 
most  seasoned  digital  video  editor,  but 
each  has  a  purpose  in  creating  the  best 
looking  and  fastest  loading  video  for  the 
Internet. 

For  those  not  accustomed  to  the  termi- 
nology of  Internet  video  delivery,  Media 
Cleaner  Pro  has  a  more  user-friendly  inter- 
face with  "wizard"  settings  that  quickly 
sets  your  compression  preferences  based 


find  effects  and  plug-ins  or  even  video 
editing  applications  for  very  little  or  free. 
Check  out  Cnet's  www.shareware.com  as  a 
starting  point  in  search  for  shareware. 

Test  Pattern  Maker  (Mac,  free,  www.syn- 
thetic-ap.com)  generates  stills  to  use  in 
your  videos  for  a  multitude  of  purposes. 
The  program  generates  handy  images  like 
color  bars  for  your  tapes  or  convergence 
and  overscan  tests  for  your  video  monitor. 
This  is  a  useful  utility  and  is  free  from  the 
developer  at  their  web  site. 

Greg  Gilpatrick  is  a  New  York-based  video/film- 
maker and  technology  consultant.  He  can  be 
reached  at  greg@randomroom.com. 


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n  i 


janu.uv  Ivbru.MA    2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      27 


Guilding  Bridges 

How  the  guilds  interact  with  interactive  producers. 

by   Robert   L.    Seigel 


If  you're  a  producer  making  interac- 
tive  or  multimedia  projects,  you  may 
decide  to  hire  union  actors,  writers,  or 
directors.  If  so,  you'll  find  yourself  on 
familiar  turf  when  it  comes  to  negotiating 
with  the  professional  guilds.  All  are  trying 
to  stay  up-to-date  with  new  media,  and 
each  has  developed  agreements  specifical- 
ly for  interactive  and  multimedia  projects. 
But  whether  making  an  esoteric  web  site,  a 
commercial  videogame,  or  a  CD-ROM, 
you  will  be  seeing  language  that  echoes 
existing  agreements  with  the  Screen 
Actors  Guild  (SAG),  the  Writers  Guild  of 
America  (WGA),  and  the  Directors  Guild 
of  America  (DGA). 

SAG's  Interactive  Media 
Agreement 

SAG  (www.sag.org)  has  developed  some- 
thing called  the  Interactive  Media 
Agreement  (IMA).  This  covers  audio- 
visual projects  produced  for  CD-ROM  or 
the  Internet  that  use  SAG  performers. 
The  IMA  concerns  interactive  projects  in 
which  a  producer  engages  such  SAG- cov- 
ered performers  in  the  U.S.  (even  if  pro- 
duced outside  the  U.S,  its  common- 
wealths, and  possessions).  However,  not 
all  CD-ROM  or  Internet  projects  are  sub- 
ject to  the  IMA.  Projects  that  were  initial- 
ly produced  as  commercials,  theatrical 
films,  television  programs,  or  industrials 
and  have  subsequently  been  placed  on  a 
CD-ROM  or  the  Internet  are  subject  to 
other  SAG  agreements. 

The  IMA  deals  specifically  with  the 
projects  that  were  designed  first  and  fore- 
most to  have  an  element  of  "interactivity," 
in  which  a  viewer  can  "manipulate,  alter, 
or  affect  the  presentation  of  the  creative 
content"  while  the  viewer  is  using  the 
media  project.  Non-interactive  media 
projects  are  generally  considered  "linear" 
in  nature  and  do  not  involve  any  degree  of 
viewer  activity  beyond  watching  the  pro- 
ject, even  if  it  is  on  a  computer  screen. 


Several  core  provisions  of  the  DGA 

Basic  Agreement  are  in  the  Internet 

Agreement:  on  creative  rights, 

pension  and  health  contributions, 

grievances  and  arbitration,  credits, 

and  staffing  requirements. 


Other  types  of  work  that  does  not  fall 
under  the  IMA  include  those  which  con- 
tain solely  "concert-like"  footage,  use  only 
still  photographs  (with  or  without  narra- 
tion), or  are  tape  productions  in  which 
more  than  one -half  consists  of  material 
produced  under  an  American  Federation  of 
Television  and  Radio  Artists  (AFTRA) 
agreement  or 
news,  game 

shows,  quiz  panel- 
type  shows,  or 
talk  shows. 

A  producer 
can  contact  SAG 
and  become  a  sig- 
natory of  the 
IMA  by  signing 
an  Adherence 
Letter.  This  ac- 
knowledges that  the  producer  shall  comply 
with  the  IMAs  terms,  contribute  to  the 
SAG  Pension  &  Health  Fund,  and  sign  a 
Credit  Check  Authorization.  Producers 
also  must  complete  an  information  sheet 
describing  the  project  in  detail  and  a 
Corporate  Resolution  acknowledging  who 
is  authorized  to  sign  on  behalf  of  the  pro- 
ducer. This  "paperwork"  is  a  more  stream- 
lined version  of  the  documentation  that 
SAG  requires  for  a  feature  film  or  televi- 
sion program.  An  IMA  signatory  producer 
must  ensure  that  all  SAG  performers  are 
members  in  good  standing  and  that  per- 
formers who  are  not  covered  by  SAG  are 
accepted  by  SAG  through  a  waiver  or  a 
completion  of  a  "Taft-Hartley"  form, 
which  causes  non-SAG  covered  perform- 
ers to  be  eligible  to  join  SAG. 

Although  these  terms  seem  reasonable 
to  most  film  and  television  producers,  the 
IMAs  basic  minimum  payments  may  prove 
problematic  for  those  independents  creat- 
ing what  are  often  labor-intensive  and 
undercapitalized  Internet  or  interactive 
projects.  Like  SAG's  Basic  Television 
Agreement,   the   IMA  requires   that  on- 


camera  SAG-covered  performers  must  be 
paid  $540  per  eight-hour  day  and  $1,876 
per  40-hour  week.  There  is  a  provision  for 
"three-day  performers"  who  are  paid  at  a 
rate  of  $1,367.  There  is  an  exception  for 
voiceover  performers,  who  must  be  paid 
$540  per  day  for  a  maximum  of  three  voic- 
es per  four-hour  day  and  an  additional 
charge  of  $180  for  each  additional  voice. 

Under  the  IMA  mediamakers  cannot 
"mix  and  match"  SAG  and  non-SAG  per- 
formers;   in   fact,    similar   to   most   SAG 
agreements,  there  is  a  provision  in  which 
SAG-covered  performers  must  be  given 
employment  preference  if  the  project  is 
produced  in  or  near  most  major  U.S.  cities. 
IMA  signatory  producers  currently  do 
not  have  to  pay  residuals  to  the  SAG  per- 
formers; however, 
if     a      producer 
decides   to   place 
an  Internet  pro- 
ject   on    a    CD- 
ROM     or     vice 
versa,    the    pro- 
ducer  must   pay 
the     SAG     per- 
former his  or  her 
rate  (up  to  150% 
of    scale).     Any 
other  use  of  such  projects  which  is  not 
addressed  by  the  IMA  must  be  separately 
negotiated  with  SAG. 

Given  the  limited  revenues  for  most 
Internet  projects,  it  would  be  advisable  for 
SAG  to  revise  its  IMA  in  a  manner  that 
addresses  low-budget  interactive  projects. 
This  could  be  done  by  adopting  a  variation 
of  its  currently  existing  agreements  tai- 
lored to  low-budget  productions,  such  as 
those  for  experimental,  limited  exhibition, 
and  low-budget  projects. 

The  WGA's  Internet  Agreement 

New  media  producers  who  hire  members 
of  the  WGA  (www.wga.org)  for  Internet 
projects  can  become  signatories  to  the 
WGA  Internet  Agreement.  Under  this 
agreement,  initial  compensation  for  WGA 
members  is  negotiable  between  the  produc- 
er and  the  writer;  however,  the  producer 
must  pay  the  appropriate  Pension  & 
Health  contributions  to  the  WGA. 
Producers  also  must  provide  wTitten  finan- 
cial reports  regarding  any  Internet  revenue 
to  both  the  WGA  and  WGA  member. 
These  financial  reports  include  any  rev- 


28    THE    INDEPENDENT    January/February  2001 


enues  derived  from  the  exploitation  of  the 
project  on  the  Internet  by  the  producer  or 
the  producer's  distributor/Internet  pro- 
vider, including  fees  charged  to  Internet 
users,  advertising  revenues,  and  the  num- 
ber of  "hits"  for  the  project  or  the  web  site 
incorporating  it. 

Under  the  WGA  Interactive  Agree- 
ment, a  signatory  producer  is  permitted  to 
use  literary  material  written  under  the 
agreement  for  a  period  of  up  to  18  months. 
After  that,  the  producer  must  comply  with 
any  Internet  provision  included  in  any 
subsequently  revised  Minimum  Basic 
Agreement.  If  there  is  no  new  Internet 
provision,  the  parties  would  have  to  nego- 
tiate a  residual  payment  for  additional  use 
of  the  material.  If  the  material  written 
under  the  agreement  is  not  used  by  a  pro- 
ducer within  two  years  from  the  signing  of 
the  agreement,  then  the  rights  to  that 
material  revert  to  the  writer. 

The  WGA  Interactive  Agreement  only 
addresses  the  use  of  the  literary  material  in 
Internet  projects.  WGA  writers  retain  the 
right  to  produce  the  material  in  other 
media  (other  than  TV,  since  the  WGA 
regards  the  Internet  as  a  form  of  television- 
and  includes  provisions  in  its  interactive 
contract  about  compensation  for  TV 
sales).  Producers  can  acquire  other  non- 
interactive  rights  to  the  material  by  negoti- 
ating with  the  writer  and  paying  the  writer 
no  less  than  the  minimum  rates  under  the 
WGA  Minimum  Basic  Agreement. 

More  and  more  mediamakers  are  using 
the  Internet  to  develop  projects  that  could 
later  be  used  in  more  conventional  "off- 
line" media,  such  as  a  television  pilot  or 
series.  Producers  taking  this  path  should 
realize  that  a  WGA  writer  would  then  be 
entitled  to  receive  no  less  than  the  mini- 
mum rate,  as  if  the  writer  has  written  the 
material  initially  for  television.  WGA  writ- 
ers also  are  entitled  to  receive  residuals  if 
the  interactive  project  is  released  in  such 
"traditional"  media  as  free  television,  pay 
television,  and  home  video. 

The  DGA's  Internet  Agreement 

The  DGA  (www.dga.org)  has  also  devel- 
oped an  Internet  Agreement.  Similar  to 
the  DGA's  Low-Budget  Agreement  for 
films,  the  DGA's  Internet  Agreement  per- 
mits a  producer  and  DGA  director  to 
negotiate  several  key  points  concerning  a 
director's  participation  in  an  Internet  pro- 


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ject.  These 
include  the 
initial    com- 


IMA's  basic  minimum 
payments  may  prove 

problematic  for 

independents  creating 

labor-intensive  and 

undercapitalized 

Internet  or  interactive 

projects. 


pensation  to 
the  director. 
Several  core 
provisions  of 
the  DGA 
Basic  Agree- 
ment are  in- 
cluded in  the 
Internet  Agreement;  these  address  such 
issues  as  creative  rights,  pension  and 
health  contributions,  grievances  and  arbi- 
tration, credits,  and  staffing  requirements. 
DGA  signatory  producers  must  realize  that 
engaging  the  services  of  a  DGA  director 
also  means  they'll  be  required  to  hire  other 
DGA-represented  members,  such  as  assis- 
tant directors  and  production  managers. 

A  producer  does  not  have  to  pay  residu- 
als under  the  DGA  Internet  Agreement 
for  the  use  of  an  audiovisual  project  specif- 
ically produced  for  free  websites.  However, 
if  project  that  was  initially  designed  for  the 
web  should  be  adapted  to  "off-line"  mar- 
kets such  as  theatrical,  television,  and 
home  video,  then  a  deal  memo  between 
the  producer  and  the  DGA  director  is 
required.  This  would  contain  provisions 
for  residual  compensation  for  "off-line" 
uses  which  comply  with  the  terms  of  the 
DGA  Basic  Agreement.  Similarly,  DGA 
directors  shall  be  entitled  to  receive  resid- 
uals for  projects  that  appear  on  revenue- 
generating  web  sites;  the  amounts  would 
be  negotiated  by  the  DGA  and  producer 
prior  to  any  licensing  of  an  Internet  project 
beyond  its  free  web  site  use. 

The  DGA  Internet  Agreement — like 
the  WGA's  version  of  the  Internet  Agree- 
ment— has  a  provision  that  requires  pro- 
ducers to  provide  reports  indicating  all 
revenues  (including  advertising)  derived 
from  a  project's  exploitation  on  the 
Internet  by  the  producer,  the  project's 
third  party  Internet  licensee,  or  the 
Internet  provider. 

Although  these  agreements  are  embry- 
onic and  experimental  in  nature,  they  serve 
as  a  bridge  between  producers  and  the 
unions  as  all  concerned  attempt  to  navigate 
the  uncharted  obstacles  in  cyberspace. 

Robert  L.  Seigel  (Rlsentlaw@aol.com)  is  a  NYC 

entertainment  attorney  and  a  partner  in  the 

Daniel,  Seigel  &  Bimbler,  LLP  law  firm  which 

specializes  in  the  representation  of  clients  in  the 

entertainment  and  media  areas. 


30    THE    INDEPENDENT    January/February  2001 


by   Jim    Colvill 

In  today's  independent  film  market  there's 
no  time  for  slow  builds.  wlth  this  in  mind 
"On  View"  offers  shameless  plugs  for  cur- 
rent RELEASES  AND  NATIONAL  BROADCASTS  OF 
INDEPENDENT  FILMS  AND  VIDEOS  IN  THE  HOPE 
THAT  YOU'LL  SUPPORT  THEM.  WHO  KNOWS — 
MAYBE  THEY'LL  DO  THE  SAME  FOR  YOU  SOMEDAY. 

THEATRICAL 

Signs  and  Wonders  (January,  Strand 
Releasing)  Jonathan  Nossiter's  digital  fol- 
low up  to  the  award-winning  Sunday 
explores  ideas  of  dislocation,  both 
metaphorical  and  geographical.  The  film, 
set  in  Athens,  is  about  a  married  man's 
adulterous  relationship  with  one  of  his  co- 
workers and  the  implications  it  has  on  his 
family  and  feelings.  The  husband  is  an 
American  by  adoption  drawn  to  the  U.S., 
and  his  wife  an  American  of  Greek  origin 

drawn  to 

Europe.  The 
relationship 
between 
Americans 
and  Europe- 
ans is  an  issue 
that  concerns 
both  the  dir- 
ector and  co- 
writer,  James  Lasdun.  Lasdun  was  born  in 
London  but  currently  resides  in  the  U.S. 
and  Nossiter  is  an  American  who  was 
bought  up  in  Europe.  Features  Stellan 
Skargard,  Charlotte  Rampling,  and 
Deborah  Kara  Unger,  with  a  soundtrack 
composed  by  Portishead's  Adrian  Utley. 

Series  7  (January,  USA  Films)  Writer/ 
director  Daniel  Minahan's  caustic  satire 
comments  on  the  ever-growing  popularity 
of  reality-based  TV  through  its  depiction 
of  a  fictional  show.  The  Contenders  is  the 
highest-rated  TV  show  in  America  based 
on  the  simple  premise  of  six  contenders 
plucked  from  normal  life  who  must  try  to 
kill  each  other.  Each  contestant  is  provid- 
ed with  a  gun  and  tailed  by  a  cameraman 
until  they  are  dead,  or,  alternatively,  the 
final  survivor.  The  film's  protagonist, 
Dawn,  is  an  8-months-pregnant  reigning 
champion  with  only  one  round  left  before 
she  wins  her  freedom  from  the  show. 
Perhaps  unsurprisingly,  Minahan  got  the 
idea  for  the  film  when  he  was  working  as  a 
producer  in  tabloid  television. 


Stellan  Skargard  (I)  in  Jonathan 
Nossiter's  latest,  Signs  and  Wonders 


Two  Ninas   (January   26,   Castle 
Hill   Productions)  A   twenty-some- 
thing    New     York     writer     Marty 
(Swingers'  Ron  Livingston),   whose 
career   and   love    life    are    leading 
nowhere,   is   rejuvenated   when   he 
meets  two  girls  called  Nina   (Cara 
Buono  and  Amanda  Peet) .  One  is  a 
smart  and  witty  brunette  with  whom 
he  has  much  in  common  and  the 
other  a  sexy  blonde  who  sweeps  him 
off  his  feet.  Indecisive,  he  decides  to 
date     both     at     once,     leading     to 
inevitable     problems.     Two     Ninas     is 
writer/director  Neil  Turitz's  film  debut  and 
winner  of  the  1999  Gen  Art  Film  Festival. 

Dog  Run  (January  19,  Arrow  Entertain- 
ment) D.  Ze'ev  Gilad's  harsh  depiction  of 
teenage  drug  use  and  poverty  from  the 
executive  producers  of  Kids.  Eddie  and 
Miles,  two  teenage  runaways  flee  from 
New  Orleans  to  New  York  for  a  drug  deal 
that  promises  wealth  and  a  place  to  live. 
The  deal  falls  through  and  instead  they 
find  themselves  penniless  on  the  Lower 
East  Side  where  kids  are  drawn  into  a 
world  of  sex,  drugs  and  survival.  The  film- 
makers say  they  wanted  the  film  to  have  a 
documentary  feel,  something  achieved  by 
the  fact  that  virtually  all  the  cast,  aside 
from  the  two  leads,  are  actual  street  kids 
who  participated  in  exchange  for  food. 
The  film  won  an  award  at  the  Toronto 
Film  Festival. 

The  Gift  (January  19,  Paramount 
Classics).  Director  Sam  Raimi  returns  to 
familiar  territory  with  this  Southern 
thriller — the  story  of  Annie  Wilson  (Cate 
Blanchett),  a  recently  widowed  mother  of 
three  with  the  gift  of  psychic  vision.  When 
a  young  woman's  body  is  found,  Annie 
comes  under  suspicion  and  finds  her  "gift" 
is  her  only  hope  to  save  herself,  and  her 
family.  Also  stars  Keanu  Reeves,  Katie 
Holmes,  Greg  Kinnear,  and  Hilary  Swank; 
and  is  co-written  by  Billy  Bob  Thornton 
and  Tom  Epperson,  who  previously  wrote 
One  False  Move  together. 

TELEVISION 

From  Swastika  to  Jim  Crow   (February, 

PBS)  Filmmakers  Steven  Fischler  and  Joe 
Sucher's  new  documentary  tells  the  previ- 
ously untold  story  of  the  many  German 
Jewish  professors  who,  expelled  from  then 
homeland  by  the  Nazis,  found  new  lives 
and  careers  at  all-Black  colleges  and  uni- 


From  Swastika  to  Jim  Crow  explores  the  little-known  history  of 
Jewish  academics  expelled  by  the  Nazis  who  find  work  in  Black 
colleges. 


versities  in  the  South.  After  experiencing 
hostility  from  many  American  universities, 
it  was  only  the  historically  all-Black  col- 
leges that  welcomed  them.  Through  inter- 
views with  many  of  the  surviving  profes- 
sors as  well  as  their  former  students  the 
film  depicts  the  unique  relationship  they 
formed.  Although  from  different  parts  of 
the  world,  they  shared  the  experience  of 
being  persecuted  due  to  their  race. 

Ralph  Bunche:  An  American  Odyssey 
(February,  PBS)  A  quarter  century  after 
his  death  this  new  feature-length  docu- 
mentary is  the  first  comprehensive  exami- 
nation oi  the  life  and  times  of  Ralph 
Bunche  in  either  print  or  electronic  media. 
Bunche  was  the  first  African  American  to 
win  the  Nobel  Peace  Prize,  an  honor 
bestowed  upon  him  in  1950  in  recognition 
of  his  successful  mediation  oi  the 
Armistice  Agreements  between  the  Arab 
nations  and  Israel.  He  spent  two  decades 
as  Undersecretary  General  of  the  United 
Nations  and  was  celebrated  worldwide  for 
his  contributions  to  peacekeeping  and  civil 
rights.  The  film  is  written  and  directed  by 
Emmy  award-winning  independent  film- 
maker William  Greaves. 

Jazz  (Begins  January  8,  PBS)  This  new 
10-part,  nearly  19-hour  documentary  from 
acclaimed  filmmaker  Ken  Burns  celebrates 
jazz  music  from  its  origins  in  blues  and  rag- 
time through  swing,  bebop  and  fusion.  By 
providing  such  a  meticulous  examination 
of  the  history  of  jazz,  America's  collective 
history  over  the  last  century  is  inadver- 
tently depicted.  Miles  Davis,  Duke  Elli- 
ngton, Charlie  Parker,  Benny  Goodman, 
Billie  Holliday,  and  many  other  major  fig 
ures  in  jazz  arc  discussed.  An  entire 
ep^ode  is  devoted  to  Louis  Armstrong's 
genius,  but  it >  a  pity  that  only  the  final 
hour  is  devoted  to  the  period  from  I960  to 
the  present  day. 


January/February  2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      31 


E* 


Zhang  Ziyi  (I)  and  Michelle  Yeoh 
face  off  in  Ang  Lee's  Crouching 
Tiger,  Hidden  Dragon. 


I   UST  TRY  GETTING  GOOD  MACHINE'S  PARTNERS  IN  A 
room  at  the  same  time,  let  alone  getting  them  to  sit 


down,  speak  coherently,  and  not  all  at  once.  Just  try 

getting  them  to  remember  what  official  capacity  the 

company  had  on  their  dozens  of  movies  over  the  past  10 

years,  or  even  in  what  order  the  films  were  made,  or  when  and 

how  they  met.  Time  floats  away.  Details  get  jumbled.  The 

phone  rings,  and  rings  again. 

The  only  certain  fact  is  that  even  though  they  met  long 
before  and  had  worked  together,  Ted  Hope  and  James  Schamus 
incorporated  Good  Machine  as  a  film  production  company  in 
December  1990.  They  remember  that  because  they  should 
have  waited  to  go  official  until  after  the  first  of  year,  thus  avoid- 
ing expensive  corporate  taxes  due  for  1990. 

"That  was  one  of  the  biggest  mistakes  we  made,"  Hope  notes 
wryly. 

A  decade  later,  the  company  is  afloat  nevertheless  and  on  a 
roll.  And  it's  no  little  twist  of  fate  that  has  the  company's  future 
hinging  on  the  same  equation  that  got  it  off  the  ground  in  the 
first  place:  Hope  producing  plus  Schamus  writing  plus  Ang  Lee 
directing. 

Good  Machine  has  worked  with  other  directors,  of  course, 


many  of  them  first-timers  and  then  repeat  customers.  Some  of 
them  have  even  had  as  good  a  run  as  Lee,  like  Todd  Solondz, 
Hal  Hartley,  Nicole  Holofcener,  and  Ed  Burns.  But  from  almost 
the  very  beginning,  Good' Machine  has  been  about  more  than 
just  the  filmmaking  passions  of  Hope,  the  NYU  film  school  grad 
with  a  penchant  for  guerilla  productions,  and  Schamus,  the 
Columbia  film  professor  and  screenwriter  who  is  known  as  a 
Class  A  talker.  It  has  also  been  about  Lee,  who  has  been  with 
them  all  along  and  prompted  the  company  to  grow  at  key 
moments.  "We  grew  up  together,"  Lee  says. 

It  was  Lee  who  came  to  the  company  in  their  second  month 
of  operation  with  a  $350,000  grant  from  the  Taiwanese  govern- 
ment for  a  strange  little  film  called  Pushing  Hands  and  nobody 
to  help  him  make  it.  Now  Good  Machine  is  putting  its  hopes  on 
another  strange  little  movie  from  Lee,  this  one  a  $10.3  million 
Chinese-language  myth  called  Crouching  Tiger,  Hidden  Dragon 
that  could  turn  out  to  be  the  company's  biggest  financial  and 
critical  success. 

"We've  had  to  keep  up  with  Ang.  And  that's  not  just  artisti- 
cally," says  Schamus.  "But  also  on  the  business  side,  making  sure 
that  the  context  in  which  Ang  makes  his  movies  is  the  appro- 
priate one  from  a  business  standpoint  and  from  a  philosophical 


32    THE    INDEPENDENT    January/February  2001 


one.  It's  funny,  one  of  the  things  I'd  say  is  a  measure  of  where 
the  company  has  gone  is  that  we've  been  able  to  accommodate 
the  increasingly  complex  demands  of  a  director  like  Ang  as  he 
gets  better  and  better  and  better." 

Sound  too  self-effacing?  This  is  what  Hope  and  Schamus 
signed  up  for.  They  teamed  up  so  they  could  make  movies,  not 
build  an  empire,  and  they  have  run  their  business  accordingly. 
"The  initial  idea  was  to  make  as  many  quality  films  as  we 
could,"  says  Hope.  "And  it  was  through  the  service  work — the 
actual  production  work — that  people  realized  we  were  into 
movies  and  scripts,"  adds  Schamus.  "With  Ang  and  others  after 
that,  we  started  moving  into  development  and  packaging  and 
shaping  films  from  beginning  to  end." 

And  if  they  were  faced  with  the  choice  of  becoming  rulers  of 
a  vast  conglomerate,  but  no  longer  having  time  to  write  or  hash 
out  the  daily  details  of  a  movie,  they'd  walk  away.  Also,  if  faced 
with  the  prospect  of  selling  to  a  larger  entity — something  they 
are  offered  often  enough  that  they  have  to  have  a 
lawyer  on  retainer  to  field  offers  (the  latest  sales 
rumors  being  about  Intermedia) — they'd  be  hard- 
pressed  to  work  for  hire. 

"We're  at  this  weird  threshold — where  we  probably 
want  to  stay  for  the  rest  of  our  lives,  by  the  way- 
where  capitalism  forces  you  to  jump  into  the  next  big- 
ger hoop  where  you  either  drown  or  manage  to  claw 
your  way  up.  Or  you  shrink  and  die  because  the  scale 
at  which  you  have  to  work  is  too  big,"  says  Schamus. 
"What  we've  tried  to  do  is  make  sure  that  the  scale  of 
each  film  we  work  on  remains  appropriate  to  what  its 
commercial  expectations  are  so  we  can  maintain  an 
infrastructure  that's  capable  of  dealing  with  those  small, 
made  films." 

As  if  to  prove  the  point  about  their  motives,  it's  impossible  to 
get  Hope,  now  38,  and  Schamus,  41,  to  talk  about  the  past  10 
years  in  any  chronological  sense.  They  don't  mark  time  by  years 
or  even  by  the  usual  industry  rhythms  of  film  festivals  and 
awards  shows,  plotting  their  time  between  Sundance,  the 
Academy  Awards,  Cannes,  and  Berlin.  Hope  and  Schamus 
think  in  terms  of  the  movies,  and  only  the  movies. 

For  those  who  are  counting,  Good  Machine's  first  offi- 
cial  production  was  a  45-minute  short  by  Claire  Denis  called 
Keep  It  for  Yourself.  At  that  point,  basically  all  Good  Machine 
had  was  a  name  (from  the  espresso  machine  in  British  director 

Jon  Amiel's  Queen  of  Hearts "It's  all  about  the  caffeine," 

Schamus  tries  to  explain).  They  had  no  address,  no  staff,  no 
salary,  no  reputation.  Well,  no  reputation  as  a  company.  Hope 
was  making  a  name  for  himself  working  as  a  producer  for  Hal 
Hartley,  and  Schamus  was  climbing  up  the  ladder  with  produc- 
er Christine  Vachon.  For  the  first  few  months,  they  worked  out 
of  the  production  offices  of  whatever  project  they  were  doing  at 
the  moment.  Then  they  had  one  very  good  day,  one  of  those 
apocryphal  tales  that  whether  true  or  not  captures  the  spirit  of 
the  times. 

"The  Gulf  War  going  on,  I  was  putting  all  of  my  energy  in  the 
company  because  my  girlfriend  left  me,"  says  Hope  of  an  early 
day  at  the  end  of  January  in  1991.  "We  just  wrapped  Keep  It  for 
Yourself.  James  went  to  Sundance  because   [Todd  Haynes'] 


Poison  and  [Hal  Hartley's]  Trust  were  playing.  I  wasn't  even  cog- 
nizant of  what  Sundance  was  at  the  time.  But  that  day,  Poison 
won  the  grand  prize  and  Trust  won  the  screenplay  award.  While 
I  sitting  there  finalizing  our  first  cost  report,  and  I  heard  this 
noise  behind  me.  A  man  was  standing  there.  He  said,  'I'm  Ang 
Lee,  and  if  I  don't  make  a  film  soon  I  will  die.'  I  still  had  a  bro- 
ken heart,  but  I  felt  like  a  man  on  top  of  the  world." 

"The  story  gets  more  legendary  as  time  goes  by,"  Lee  says,  as 
quietly  as  always.  "I  didn't  have  two  scripts  under  my  arm.  But 
I  had  gone  six  years  without  a  job.  I  had  a  little  money  to  make 
a  film  and  I  needed  a  line  producer." 

Hope  had  actually  been  trying  to  meet  Lee  for  years,  ever 
since  he  was  in  film  school  and  saw  Lee's  student  film.  He  had 
tried  to  reach  Lee's  agents,  but  had  been  rebuffed.  Hope  says 
when  Lee  walked  in  the  door  with  the  scripts  for  Pushing  Hands 
and  The  Wedding  Banquet  under  his  arms,  all  he  could  do  was 
say,  "Ang,  I've  been  trying  to  meet  you  for  ten  years,"  and  then 


down  and  talk  to  him 
about  getting  to  work. 
They  shot  Pushing  Hands 
first  and  made  it  simultaneously  with  a  Swiss  film  by  Dani  Levy, 
I  Was  on  Mars.  At  first  neither  film  went  anywhere  commercial- 
ly. Pushing  Hands  played  at  the  Berlin  Film  Festival  that  summer 
and  was  well-received  in  Taiwan  (mostly  because  Lee  actually 
made  the  film  and  didn't  just  walk  away  with  the  government 
cash  like  others,  says  Schamus),  but  it  wasn't  released  in  the 
U.S.  until  after  Lee's  next  film  was  a  hit. 

The  Wedding  Banquet  kicked  into  pre-production  as  soon 
as  Pushing  Hands  wrapped.  The  second  of  Lee's  trilogy  about 
fathers  coping  with  the  modern  world  that  concluded  with  Eat 
Drink  Man  Woman,  it  didn't  look  like  it  was  going  anywhere  at 
first  either.  Without  even  getting  to  see  the  print,  Hope  and 
Schamus  packed  it  off  to  Berlin.  The  distributors  who  saw  if 
there  called  to  say  thanks  but  no  thanks.  "They  said  that  it  was 
absolutely  uncommercial.  It's  a  gay,  Chinese-language  green- 
card  comedy  of  marriage  and  remarriage.  What  were  we  think- 
ing?" Hope  says. 

This  is  just  the  start  of  another  apocryphal  tale.  Good 
Machine,  which  had  grown  to  have  two  employees  by  then  and 
was  housed  in  a  skanky  office  on  West  25th  St.,  was  in  danger 
of  going  under.  Hope  says,  "We  only  had  $2,000  lett  in  bank 
account.  We  said,  well,  fuck  it,  we'll  spend  the  $2,000  to  fly  our- 
selves and  Ang  to  Berlin.  When  we  got  there  we  got  a  phone 
call  that  the  press  screening  had  jusl  ended  and  the  whole  audi 
ence  had  stood  up  on  their  chairs  and  gave  a  standing  ovation 


ian  1  ebruary  2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      33 


for  five  minutes." 

The  Wedding  Banquet  went  on  to  win  the  Golden  Bear,  do  $3 
million  in  initial  sales,  and  get  nominated  for  an  Academy 
Award  for  best  foreign  film.  All  that,  Hope  points  out,  for  a  film 
that  cost  well  under  $1  million. 

The  Wedding  Banquet  did  more  than  just  fill  Good  Machine's 
coffers  with  enough  money  to  run  the  company  for  a  year.  It 
also  set  them  up  with  a  business  model  that  would  sustain  them 
for  the  next  five  or  six  years  and  get  them  to  the  next  level  of 
growth.  The  key  was  selling  their  own  films,  at  least  interna- 
tionally. But  that  meant  taking  on  more  employees.  At  that 
point,  Good  Machine  had  Mary  Jane  Skalski,  who  was  the 
office  manager  (and  former  AIVF  membership  director),  and 


Good  Machine  got  a  taste  of  studio  politics  with 
its  Civil  War  epic,  Ride  with  the  Devil. 


Anthony  Bregman,  an  enthusiastic  intern.  In  the  next  few 
years,  the  staff  would  grow  to  a  dozen — even  as  the  infrastruc- 
ture stalled. 

"We  had  six  phone  lines,  they'd  all  light  up  when  somebody 
was  using  them.  The  problem  was,  of  course,  that  there  were 
more  people  than  there  were  phone  lines,"  Schamus  says,  thor- 
oughly enjoying  a  story  about  the  poor  days.  "Whenever  you 
finished  a  phone  call,  you'd  have  to  hang  up  really  fast  and  then 
pick  up  again,  because  somebody  would  be  waiting  for  the  light 
to  go  off.  When  you  did  that,  you'd  hear  somebody  out  in  the 
other  office  screaming,  like  'Oh  fuck.'  " 

"Because  the  goal  was  never  to  be  rich,  they  kept  the  over- 
head so  low  for  so  long,"  says  Skalski.  She  adds,  "Even  today, 
nobody  cavalierly  sends  out  a  FedEx.  One  thing  that  nobody 
realizes  is  that  James  and  Ted  had  good  timing  and  a  lot  of  luck, 
but  they  also  made  huge  sacrifices.  They  put  everything  back  in 
the  company  when  they  could  walk  away  and  do  their  own 
stuff,  make  money,  and  not  have  to  deal  with  this  company  and 
manage  the  work  of  other  people." 

Skalski  is  still  around  Good  Machine,  even  though  she  is 
now  just  using  an  office  to  run  her  own  production  company. 
Bregman  is  currently  Good  Machine's  vice  president  of  pro- 
duction. Another  employee  who  came  on  after  Good  Machine 
got  some  extra  cash  from  a  first-look  deal  with  Fox  Searchlight 
in  1996,  Anne  Carey,  is  senior  vice  president  of  development. 


By  the  mid-'90s,  Good  Machine  was  in  the  midst  of  what 
might  be  called  its  Sundance  era.  Nearly  every  film  they  pro- 
duced with  a  first-time  filmmaker  ended  up  at  the  festival  and 
usually  ended  up  doing  well.  Tom  Noonan's  What  Happened 
Was...  won  the  grand  prize  in  1994,  Ed  Burns'  Brothers 
McMullen  won  in  1995.  Then  the  company  had  a  string  of  solid 
base  hits  with  Nicole  Holofcener's  Walking  and  Talking,  Bart 
Freundlich's  The  Myth  of  Fingerprints,  and  1999's  The  Tao  of 
Steve,  which  won  a  special  jury  prize  for  acting.  Even  more  than 
Lee's  films,  these  established  Good  Machine's  taste  in  the  mar- 
ketplace. Hope  and  Schamus  go  for  understatement  rather  than 
brio,  wittiness  over  violence,  and  quiet  family  drama  over  dys- 
function on  a  grand  scale. 

Except,  that  is,  for  Todd  Solondz's  Happiness,  which 
was  full  of  brio  and  dysfunction  and  a  little  violence,  too, 
in  the  form  of  pedophilia. 

Christine  Vachon  is  Solondz's  primary  producer,  but 
Solondz  says  he  originally  got  Hope  on  board  because  he 
liked  him,  and  then  he  liked  what  Good  Machine  was 
able  to  do  because  of  its  reputation.  It's  just  a  little  exam- 
ple of  how  Good  Machine  works  whatever  little  piece  of 
a  production  that  fits  with  its  skills.  Vachon  is  a  big  fan 
of  Ted  Hope's,  but  says  she  isn't  as  happy  dealing  with 
Good  Machine  as  a  corporate  entity.  She  has  kept  her 
own  Killer  Films  a  small  producer-driven  company  so  it 
could  stay  flexible  and  stay  alive.  "Producing  itself  is  a 
difficult  way  to  make  a  living,"  Vachon  says.  "But  unless 
it's  all  you  do,  you  do  less  of  it." 

Hope  says  he  finds  it  interesting  how  his  business 
differs  from  Vachon's  and  from  the  venture  of 
another  guy  he  started  out  with  in  the  small  world  of  New  York 
independent  film.  Larry  Meistrich,  who  was  a  production  assis- 
tant for  Hope  on  Hal  Hartley  films,  later  started  The  Shooting 
Gallery.  "All  three  of  us  formed  what  hadn't  existed  up  to  that 
point — producer-anchored,  director-driven  companies. 
Previously  most  producers  in  New  York  were  stand-alone  or 
dedicated  to  one  filmmaker,  like  Rollins  and  Joffe  [working  with 
Woody  Allen]  and  things  like  that,"  Hope  says. 

But  with  all  of  Good  Machine's  successes  with  mid-level 
independent  films  and  confidence  about  where  it  stood  in  the 
industry,  they  were  not  quite  prepared  for  the  role  they  were 
asked  to  take  on  with  Happiness.  They  originally  joined  on  just 
to  co-produce  with  Vachon,  with  Good  Machine  handling  some 
of  the  financing  through  international  sales.  But  when  the 
movie  got  an  NC-17  rating,  October  Films'  new  parent  compa- 
ny, Universal,  refused  to  go  through  with  the  distribution  deal. 
"We  were  able  to  borrow  the  money  to  buy  it  back  and  dis- 
tribute it  ourselves,"  says  Hope.  "Producing  with  us  means  we 
will  do  whatever  is  necessary.  We  will  take  that  through  to  the 
very  end." 

"It  was  a  learning  experience,  but  I  don't  know  that  they'd 
want  to  do  it  again,"  says  Solondz,  who  was  happy  enough  him- 
self to  sign  on  Good  Machine  for  his  next  film,  which  just 
wrapped  and  is  as  yet  untitled. 

"We  now  put  in  our  contract  that  if  films  are  going  to  be 
dropped  by  their  distributors,  we  have  first  and  last  option  to 
buy  the  film  back.  I'm  not  going  to  make  a  film  and  give  up  on 


34     THE     INDEPENDENT     January/February  2001 


it,"  says  Hope.  "But  I  devel- 
oped a  profound  respect  for 
what  distributors  do  in  a 
way  that  I  couldn't  have 
strictly  as  a  producer.  That 
said,  it  was  the  right  deci- 
sion. Faced  with  that  deci- 
sion, I'd  do  the  same  thing 
again,  but  I'd  work  harder 
to  make  sure  it  didn't  come 
to  that." 

One  way  of  insulating 
Good  Machine,  or  at  least  Hope  and  Schamus, 
from  having  to  deal  too  intimately  with  deals 
like  the  Happiness  one  was  to  bring  on  board  somebody  to  han- 
dle that  side  of  the  business.  Miramax's  David  Linde  came  in  as 
a  partner  in  1997  to  head  up  the  international  sales  division, 
Good  Machine  International.  When  they  started  to  meet  with 
distributors  about  selling  films,  Hope  and  Schamus  had  their 
first  realization  that  they  had  a  real  name  for  themselves  in  the 
marketplace  beyond  just  the  film  festival  circuit. 

"They  all  knew  who  Good  Machine  was.  They  were  aware  of 
the  level  of  the  taste  and  it  allowed  us  to  get  in  the  business 
much  more  quickly,"  says  Linde.  "They  said,  we  know  who  you 
are,  and  we  trust  you." 

The  company  was  still  small  at  that  point,  a  dozen  people 
crammed  into  the  office  still  on  25  th  St.  But  they  would  soon 
expand  and  move  to  their  current  space,  a  crisp,  open  two  floors 
along  the  north  border  of  Tribeca.  Now  there  are  close  to  30 
people  at  the  company,  with  space  for  Ang  Lee  as  well. 

Good  Machine  International  brings  even  more  films  into  the 
fold.  It  offers  opportunity,  like  being  able  to  co-finance  a  film 
like  Lee's  Ride  with  the  Devil,  but  it  also  brings  up  a  little  more 
confusion  about  just  what  role  Good  Machine  has  in  any  par- 
ticular project. 

Basically  what  the  distinctions  come  down  to  is  Hope  and 
Schamus'  level  of  involvement  in  a  project.  If  Schamus  just 
helps  out  putting  together  some  financing  for  a  project,  like  he 
did  with  Todd  Haynes'  Poison,  then  the  Good  Machine  name 
doesn't  go  on  the  project.  None  of  Hal  Hartley's  films  carry  the 
logo  even  though  Hope  worked  on  them.  For  Good  Machine  to 
put  its  name  on  a  picture,  Hope  says,  they  have  to  be  with  it 
from  the  beginning:  "The  title  'producer'  isn't  warranted  unless 
you  are  the  person  there  from  the  beginning  to  distribution." 

That  said,  the  fact  that  there  is  no  Good  Machine  logo  on 
Lee's  Sense  and  Sensibility,  which  was  produced  by  Columbia 
Pictures,  is  not  quite  an  oversight.  "We  were  still  the  small  guys 
on  the  block  in  terms  of  L.A.  then,"  says  Schamus.  "We  were  a 
non-entity."  (In  fact,  Hope  had  never  even  been  to  L.A.  until 
1993  when  The  Wedding  Banquet  was  up  for  its  Academy  Award.) 

Sense  and  Sensibility  was  an  example  of  how  Lee  pushed  Good 
Machine  along  to  the  next  level,  working  with  a  major  studio 
for  the  first  time.  "They  very  graciously  worked  out  an  agree- 
ment as  to  how  and  why  I  was  a  necessary  part  of  that  equa- 
tion," say  Schamus.  "For  me  and  Ang  it  was  the  best  introduc- 
tion to  studio  filmmaking,  because  there  was  nothing  cynical 
about  it." 


But  when  they  tried  to 
repeat  the  studio  magic 
with  Universal  for  Ride  with 
the  Devil,  it  didn't  work  out 
so  well.  The  ambitious  pro- 
ject about  the  emotional 
damage  of  the  Civil  War 
ended  up  floundering  at  the 
box  office  and  had  a  hard 
time  with  critics,  too. 

"We  pitched  the  movie 
really  believing  in  it  and 
then  found  ourselves  in  this 
morass  of  studio  politics," 
says  Linde,  who  notes  that  they  went  through  four  presidents  of 
production  at  the  studio  while  the  project  was  being  made.  And 
he  adds  that  by  the  time  the  film  was  ready  to  be  released,  the 
budget  was  so  low  compared  to  everything  else  in  the  Universal 
pipeline  that  it  got  virtually  ignored.  "It  was  creatively  disap- 
pointing but  professionally  a  great  education,  which  makes  you 
just  feel  kind  of  mixed  up,  sad,  and  glad  at  the  same  time,"  says 
Linde. 

Good  Machine  learned  enough  from  those  experiences  to 
try  to  get  it  all  right  for  Crouching  Tiger,  Hidden  Dragon.  They 
went  with  two  divisions  of  Sony,  Sony  Asia  and  Sony  Classics, 
for  financing.  And  they  are  keeping  their  expectations  as  low  as 
they  can  for  a  film  that  wowed  critics  and  audiences  at  the 
Cannes,  Toronto,  and  the  New  York  Film  Festival  and  has  'box 
office'  hit  written  all  over  its  Matrix-like  fight  scenes  (which 
were  also  choreographed  by  Matrix's  Woo-Ping  Yuen).  "We 
have  really  fought  to  keep  our  expectations  reasonable  on  this. 
It  looks  like  such  a  breakout  gigantic  monster  hit,  but  we've 
never  tested  those  waters  with  a  Chinese -language  movie 
before,"  says  Schamus.  "The  reality  is  that  the  movie  is  in 
Chinese,"  says  Linde.  "It's  still  an  Ang  Lee  movie  in  Chinese, 
you  know,  so  we're  going  to  keep  our  expectations  reasonable," 
says  Hope,  two  months  before  its  theatrical  release. 

Overall,  they  say  they  aren't  looking  for  the  big  score.  They 
are  still  doing  exactly  what  they've  been  doing  all  along,  which 
is  playing  it  by  ear.  "What's  great  about  our  inability  to  answer 
the  question  of 'what's  upcoming  on  our  slate?'  is  that  far  from 
being  a  measure  of  confusion,  it's  a  measure  of  being  able  to  do 
what  we  want  to  do,"  says  Schamus. 

Hope  lays  out  the  three  films  he's  worked  on  most  this  year 
as  being  indicative  of  the  Good  Machine  way.  One  was  the  Todd 
Solondz  film.  Another,  Human  Nature,  written  by  Being  John 
Malkovich's  Charlie  Kaufman,  he  says  was  designated  one  ot  the 
best  unproducable  screenplays  by  Entertainment  Weekly.  In  the 
Bedroom,  directed  by  actor-turned-director  Todd  Field,  got  a 
similar  honor  from  Premiere. 

So  what  does  the  future  hold? 

Schamus  says,  "All  I  can  tell  you  is  that  Good  Machine  will 
be  around  in  three  months'  time." 

Beth  Pinsker  b  an  associate  editor  at  Inside.com  and  was  previously  a  film 

crmc  at  the  Dallas  Morning  News 


January/February  2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      35 


A  Producer 
at  Heart 


i  •  •  •  •  •  • 


A  CONVERSATION  WITH  PBS'S  NEW  PRESIDENT, 

Pat  Mitchell. 

BY    Patri  c    Hedlund 

She's  a  woman  in  a  hurry.  Pat  Mitchell,  PBS'  fifth  presi- 
dent/CEO,  is  on  a  whirlwind  marathon,  jumping  from  airplane 
to  meeting  room  to  lectern  and  back  to  the  tarmac  to  jet  to  the 
next  stop.  Her  goal  is  to  visit  with  each  of  the  nation's  346  pub- 
lic television  stations  before  the  end  of  her  first  year  as  the  first 
producer  to  hold  this  job.  From  Anchorage  to  Miami  Mitchell 
brings  a  new  message  about  the  digital  future  for  public  televi- 
sion. 

"Content  is  king,"  she  states  in  a  unique  accent  of  soft  south- 
ern sounds  wrapped  around  crisply  focused  ideas.  "Content  is 
the  key  to  the  future."  It  is  no  accident,  she  says,  that  a  hands- 
on  producer  has  taken  the  helm  just  when  digital  conversion, 
DBS,  and  technologies  like  TiVO  hurl  new  challenges  to  the 
ability  of  public  television  to  hold  its  audience.  As  commercial 
media  mergers  narrow  the  diversity  of  broadcast  dialogue  in  the 
U.S.,  public  television's  mandate  becomes  all  the  more  urgent. 
Mitchell's  race  is  to  recapture  the  trust  of  producers,  member 
stations,  and  the  audience  that  PBS  will  deliver  "the  strongest, 
most  impactful,  and  most  distinctive  content  on  every  plat- 
form." She  calls  for  "talented,  courageous,  and  concerned  pro- 
ducers to  bring  their  work  and  their  passion  to  PBS." 

The  Georgia  native  laughs  easily  and  nibbles  peanuts  during 
our  interview  seven  months  into  her  mission,  but  the  layering 
of  energy,  experience,  and  commitment  that  she  brings  to  her 
new  job  leaves  a  powerful  imprint  on  the  sunny  fall  afternoon. 

You  took  your  job  at  PBS  in  March,  the  same  month  the  "Breadcrumb 
Trail"  article  appeared  in  this  magazine,  in  which  I  tried  to  disentangle 
the  maze  of  interlocking  organizations  that  is  our  nation's  public  tele- 
vision system. 

Yes,  quite  literally,  the  first  day,  the  first  hour,  on  this  job  I  read 
it.  A  lot  of  people  were  talking  about  it.  So  I  took  it  into  my  first 
meeting  with  my  programming  team  and  said  'Look,  there  are 
a  lot  of  questions  here,  and  we  need  to  answer  them.'  I  took  it 


as  a  roadmap  for  our  conversations  in  the  beginning,  a  guideline 
to  things  we  need  to  do  better 

It  was  intended  to  be  a  roadmap  for  producers. 

And  as  someone  who  had  been  a  producer,  all  the  things  you 
talked  about  have  been  my  own  experience. 

What  were  your  experiences  as  a  producer? 


I've  had  two  different  independent  production  companies 
which  I  started  from  scratch  and  ran  myself.  The  first  was  called 
Pat  Mitchell  Productions,  and  I  had  one  partner.  We  sold  a  show 
into  syndication,  so  we  had  115  people  working  for  us  at  one 
point,  and  when  that  show  went  out  of  syndication,  we  went 
back  to  being  a  two-person  deal. 

What  was  the  show? 

Woman  to  Woman.  My  partner  and  I  took  an  idea  based  on 
Woman  to  Woman  and  sold  it  to  NBC.  Then  I  formed  a  compa- 
ny with  four  other  documentary  filmmakers.  We  had  this  idea, 
called  Century  of  Women,  which  we  had  taken  to  PBS  first.  We 
never  got  an  answer  back  from  PBS  actually. 


36    THE    INDEPENDENT    January/February  2001 


When  we  got  the  idea  of  doing  documentaries  on  women 
and  children's  issues,  my  partners  and  I  assumed  we'd  end  up 
working  for  PBS  all  the  time.  We  thought,  'We're  going  to  do 
these  serious,  issue-oriented  documentaries — where  else  are  we 
going  to  sell  them?'  We  had  all  worked  at  the  networks,  we 
knew  we  weren't  going  to  sell  them  there. 

Lifetime  and  such  hadn't  started  yet.  We  were  ahead  of  the 
cable  channel  curve.  Finally  somebody  said:  'Why  don't  you 
take  it  to  Turner?'  I  didn't  even  know  Turner  made  documen- 
taries. They  were  doing  400  hours  a  year  when  I  came  on  board! 
So  my  experience  is  as  both  a  producer  who  ran  two  small  com- 
panies and  as  someone  who  ran  a  $40  to  $60-million  budget 
when  I  was  at  Turner.  [The  films  Mitchell  commissioned  while 
in  this  position  won  44  Emmy  Awards.] 

You  had  also  been  president  of  CNN  Productions  and  Time,  Inc. 
Television  for  several  years  when  you  were  approached  about  heading 
PBS. 

Yes.  There  has  never  before  been  a  President  &  CEO  at  PBS 
who's  a  producer.  There's  never  been  anybody  in  this  job  who 
knows  what  it's  like  to  do  a  [production]  budget,  to  manage  on- 
line production  and  to  be  out  there  finding  the  funds  to  pro- 
duce programs.  I  have  done  all  of  that,  from  'I've  got  a  great 
idea,'  to  five  years  later  finally  cobbling  together  all  the  funding 
it  takes  to  get  it  done. 

As  a  producer  I'd  gone  to  PBS  and  to  PBS  member  stations, 
and  frankly  I  never  could  figure  it  out.  See,  I  didn't  have  a 
"Follow  the  Breadcrumb  Trail"  map,  and  that's  why  after  25 
years  in  the  business  I  never  worked  for  PBS.  One  of  the  first 
questions  the  PBS  Search  Committee  asked  was:  'We  looked  at 
your  credits,  and  you've  produced  documentaries  for  all  sorts  of 
people;  why  never  for  PBS.7' 

I  said,  "I  think  that's  a  really  good  question.  .  .  ." 

Why  do  you  feel  it's  so  important  to  have  a  producer's  sensibility  lead- 
ing PBS  now? 

In  that  first  meeting  I  asked  them  the  questions  you  raise  in 
your  article  from  the  point  of  view  of  my  own  personal  experi- 
ence. When  I  approached  PBS  originally,  I  was  pretty  informed. 
It  was  before  I'd  worked  for  Turner,  but  I  had  some  credits.  I  cer- 
tainly wasn't  an  unknown  person  walking  in  the  door.  I  said, 
"Look,  why  did  I  never  get  through  the  maze  of  PBS?  Why  did- 
n't I  understand  as  an  independent  producer  what  the  relation- 
ship was  between  member  stations  that  produced,  and  whether 
I  needed  to  have  a  member  station  go  in  with  me?  Where  was 
the  avenue  in  for  independents?  And  why,  now,  does  every  pro- 
ducer I  meet  say  'I've  had  a  proposal  there  for  eight  or  nine 
months  and  still  have  no  answer'?" 

I  think  you'll  be  surprised  to  discover  how  much  I'm  really  a 
producer  at  heart.  That  is  what  motivates  everything  I  do. 
Clearly  I'm  going  to  be  looking  for  ways  to  get  the  absolute  best, 
most  interesting  work  on  PBS. 

What  do  you  think  they  are  looking  for  from  you? 

Without  being  critical  of  what  happened  before,  there  is  a  dif- 
ferent awareness  now — at  the  top — of  how  this  process  needs 
to  work  to  bring  in  the  best  talent,  the  best  ideas,  the  best  pro- 
jects. At  the  end  of  the  day,  all  of  our  other  challenges  are  going 
to  be  based  on  whether  we  have  the  best  content — for  broad- 


cast, on-line,  and  every  other  distribution  platform.  Content  is 
king. 

I'm  committed  to  finding  ways  to  get  the  absolute  best,  most 
interesting  work  on  PBS.  I  think  they  believe  that  not  only  do  I 
know  how  to  find  the  best  people  and  get  the  process  working 
so  it's  friendly  to  the  creative  community,  but  that  at  heart  I 
care  deeply  about  the  kind  of  work  PBS  ought  to  be  doing,  in  a 
way  that  is  true  to  our  mission.  I'm  not  going  to  do  it  in  a  way 
that  would  work  on  Fox,  for  example.  If  we  don't  have  the  best 
content,  what  else  have  we  got? 

What  is  the  job  like  so  far? 

First  I  needed  to  find  out,  'Okay,  what's  going  on  here?'  I  looked 
at  what  was  going  on  in  Alexandria,  Virginia  [PBS  headquar- 
ters]. Now  I'm  devoting  much  of  this  first  year  to  going  out  to 
meet  the  member  stations.  It  is  my  "Listening  Tour."  I  kept  hear- 
ing from  our  stations:  "We  don't  really  understand  how  the  pro- 
gramming is  getting  commissioned."  And  that's  within  the  sys- 
tem! 

Exactly.  When  I  told  people  at  the  stations  that  I  was  making  a  map  to 
explain  how  the  parts  of  the  PTV  system  fit  together,  they  said  'Great!  We 
need  that.' 

Here's  the  good  news.  The  PBS  part  is  going  to  be  completely 
and  totally  transparent  and  on  the  web.  We  have  a  new  web  site 
[www.pbs.org/producers]  on  the  home  page.  When  you  click  on 
it,  the  first  thing  you  get  is  a  letter  from  me  which  says, 
"Welcome  to  PBS  and  here's  what  we  are  looking  for.  .  .  ."  It 
describes  our  whole  approach  to  content.  The  next  thing  says, 
"and  here  are  the  people  that  you'll  hear  from  and  relate  to."  A 
new  senior  programming  team  has  been  announced. 

What  have  you  put  in  place? 

John  Wilson,  who  was  the  acting  head  of  programming,  had 
been  shouldering  the  burden.  And  it  is  a  burden.  Two  thousand 
proposals  are  coming  in  over  the  transom.  That  begins  to 
explain  how  papers  got  piled  up  on  desks.  There  wasn't  any 
well-defined  greenlighting  process. 

I  decided  that  rather  than  name  a  Chief  Content  Officer — a 
model  we  may  eventually  move  back  to — right  now  we  need 
two  things:  First,  we  need  to  open  up  the  process  so  people  see 
there  is  an  open  door — both  to  our  stations  and  to  outside  pro- 
ducers. Second,  we  need  to  clarify  a  process  that  is  easier  to 
navigate  and  from  which  it  is  easier  to  get  results. 

To  make  that  happen,  we  need  a  team  with  different  voices, 
different  perspectives,  different  experiences,  so  that  we  start  to 
reflect  that  kind  of  diversity  in  our  content.  I've  very  carefully 
considered  this  team  and  how  it  will  work. 

Is  the  team  starting  to  get  its  wings? 

It's  underway.  We've  been  meeting  every  Thursday  and  we've 
already  moved  things  along.  John  Wilson  is  the  Senior  Vice 
President  of  Programming  in  Alexandria,  our  home  office. 
Gustavo  Sagastume  is  Vice  President,  Programming,  from 
Florida;  Jacoba  Atlas  holds  thai  position  based  in  Los  Angeles. 
Cindy  Johanson,  Senior  Vice  President  ot  Internet  and 
Broadband  Services,  is  also  on  the  team.  [Two  others  ha\  e  since 
been  added:  Alyce  Myatt,  Vice  President,  Programming,  i- 
based  in  Chicago,  ;\nd  Cheryl  [ones,  Senior  Director,  Program 


January/Februan    AVI    THE    INDEPENDENT      37 


Development  and  Independent  Film,  is  the  liaison  with  the 
independent  community  and  manager  of  the  program  submis- 
sion    pipeline     described 
below.] 

Gustavo  Sagastume  said  he's 
impressed  with  your  team 
management  skill.  He  was 
enthusiastic  about  making  pro- 
gramming decisions  with  a  consensus 
approach. 

That's  the  way  we  work.  I  believe 
in  it.  It's  very  hard  for  one  person 
to  make  all  the  decisions  about 
something  as  important 
as  content.  Yet  there  is 
one  person  who  must 
ultimately  be  responsible, 
and  that's  me.  But  now 
there  is  a  process  in  place. 

A  little  more  detail  on  that? 

Every  proposal  has  to  be 
submitted  in  writing 
[PBS  Program  Development  Of- 
fice, 1320  Braddock  Place,  Alexandria,  VA  22314;  fax:  (703) 
739-5295].  It  can  be  submitted  by  email  if  you  want,  but  a  sub- 
missions agreement  is  going  to  be  signed.  We  were  the  only 
media  company  not  requiring  a  submissions  release.  It's  a  great 
tracking  system  to  know  exactly  where  something  is  at  any 
minute.  It's  a  way  of  knowing,  'On  July  12  1  signed  this  agree- 
ment,' and  they  shouldn't  be  sitting  there  the  next  July  waiting 
for  an  answer.  They  are  protection  for  the  producers  as  well  as 
the  company,  and  I  instigated  them  at  Turner.  I  found  them 
incredibly  valuable.  At  PBS  there  is  an  actual  greenlighting 
sheet  we  are  going  to  use,  so  now  we  can  track  how  we  are  mak- 
ing our  decisions  and  evaluate  what  is  working  and  what  isn't. 
On  the  web  site  there  are  criteria  for  what  we  are  looking  for  in 
every  genre. 

[Download  a  release  from  the  web  site  or  call  (703)  739- 
5306  to  request  a  form  by  mail.  Jacoba  Atlas,  V.P  Programming, 
L.A.,  emphasizes  that  regional  V.R's  are  eager  to  meet  with  pro- 
ducers face  to  face,  and  that  even  though  every  proposal  is  now 
entered  into  the  central  computer  for  tracking,  "I  can  be  an 
entry  point,  not  a  stopping  point.  I  want  to  see  outstanding  pro- 
posals. Expanding  inclusiveness  is  the  goal  of  the  new  regional 
programming  team."] 

What  genres  do  you  plan  to  use? 

Kids  is  one,  News  and  Current  Affairs,  History,  Biography, 
Science,  Exploration,  and  Independent  Filmmaking,  which  is 
not  a  separate  genre  but  I  am  assigning  a  separate  content  team 
to  work  with  the  independent  community  to  develop  new  fran- 
chises. 

Each  content  team  has  someone  from  the  programming  team 
as  its  content  manager.  But  the  teams  are  not  just  from  the  pro- 
gramming department;  they  include  our  promotion  and  mar- 
keting people,  online  people,  and  business  affairs  people. 

Once  the  senior  team  has  commissioned  something,  the 


genre  teams  take  over  and  manage  it  through  the  producer  and 
with  the  producer.  We  work  together. 

A  lot  of  the  money  the  public  contributes  to  local  PTV  stations  is  being 
offered  to  support  the  kinds  of  bravery  independents  bring  to  filmmak- 
ing. People  really  appreciate  that  work. 

Not  only  do  I  agree  with  that,  I  think  that  is  exactly  what  we 
ought  to  be  doing.  Our  mandate  is  to  serve  the  American  pub- 
lic— all  of  us.  That's  as  many  diverse  voices  as  we  can  find.  The 
Minority  Consortia  was  an  attempt  to  fund  a  development 
effort  so  that  Asian  and  African  American  and  Native  Amer- 
ican producers  could  have  their  own  portal.  I  am  a  huge  fan  of 
PO.V  I'm  trying  to  find  funds  to  continue  that  strand  all  year. 

That's  some  of  the  most  exciting  work  coming  through  PBS.  There  are  a 
lot  of  younger  fans  with  a  love  of  documentary,  and  P.O.]/.  has  some  of 
the  strongest  content  for  that  growing,  young  audience. 

Absolutely.  We  have  virtually  no  other  way  for  an  eager  but 
inexperienced  documentary  filmmaker  to  come  onto  the  prime- 
time  PBS  schedule  other  than  PO.V  and  Independent  Lens.  I'm 
asking  [PO.V.]  and  some  of  the  Minority  Consortia  leaders  how 
we  can  come  up  with  a  couple  of  other  umbrella  series.  There's 
not  enough  places  for  that  yet. 

I'm  pleased  to  hear  you  say  that. 

I  think  you're  surprised  to  discover  that  I'm  really  a  producer  at 
heart,  and  that  is  what  motivates  everything  I  do.  Clearly  I'm 
going  to  be  looking  for  ways  to  get  the  absolute  best,  most  inter- 
esting work  on  PBS. 

Then  let's  put  an  end  to  this  myth  that  filmmakers  can't  recognize  a  bad 
business  deal.  It  is  a  violation  of  the  public's  trust  for  PBS  to  receive 
donor  dollars  because  of  our  work,  then  offer  us  contracts  that  make  it 
impossible  to  survive. 

Two  issues.  First,  this  mindset:  "If  we  put  our  PBS  logo  on  your  pro- 
gram and  air  it  to  our  vast  PBS  audience,  how  could  you  ask  for  more?" 
As  if  it's  impolite  to  mention  we  have  to  pay  the  rent. 
Are  you  hearing  this  from  PBS  in  Alexandria  or  PBS  member 
stations? 

Both:  "Our  logo  is  a  mark  of  prestige" — even  if  it  means  you'll  go  three 
years  with  no  income  from  work  you  have  sunk  every  personal  dime 
into. 

Hmm,  I've  heard  that  too,  but  I  heard  it  from  ...  I  mean  I  did 
a  project  for  which  I  borrowed  every  dime  I  could,  and  A&E 
said  that  to  me!  [Laughs] 

Aha!  So  you  got  the  A&E  stamp  of  approval! 

I  know  that  story  and  understand  it.  This  is  a  very  big  issue  that 
has  developed  over  time  because  of  the  2001  hours  of  program- 
ming a  year  being  sent  to  PBS.  A  lot  of  it  is  coming  from  mem- 
ber stations  saying  'We  found  the  money  to  fund  this,  now  you 
guys  air  it.  All  we  want  is  a  national  airing."  It  built  up  a  nega- 
tive ethos  about  the  work  itself:  "Well,  okay  we'll  air  it,  but  we 
didn't  ask  for  it." 

As  a  result  the  primetime  schedule  started  to  look  like  a 
mishmash.  No  development,  no  planning.  And  our  audiences 
started  to  say,  'Well,  where  is  History?  Do  you  still  have 
Biography?  Where  is  Science?' 

We're  trying  to  stop  all  that.  We  need  to  say  to  all  of  our 


38     THE    INDEPENDENT     January/February  2001 


member  stations:  'Don't  just  go  out  there  and  make  programs 
that  you  want  to  be  national  without  us  first  talking  about  it 
together,  because  we  want  to  make  sure  it's  funded.'  A  nation- 
al airing  doesn't  come  free  to  PBS.  There's  promotion,  there's 
marketing,  there's  satellite  time,  plus  the  station  relations  work, 
network  costs  to  get  it  on  as  many  stations  as  possible. 
What  is  your  second  issue? 

Applying  the  Station  Equity  Model  contract  to  Independents. 

Do  me  a  favor,  will  you?  Explain  the  Station  Equity  Model  to 
me.  Every  time  I  ask  I  get  three  different  definitions.  I'm  not 
sure  what  that  really  means. 

It  emerged  when  Newt  Gingrich's  politics  caused  $50  million  of  CPB 
allocation  to  slip  down  the  drain . . . 

Yes,  it  was  a  very  scary  time. 

Then  came  Barneygate,  revealing  that  companies  were  using  PBS  as  a 
branding  and  promotion  mechanism  to  sell  toys  from  which  PBS  did  not 
benefit,  so  there  was  all  this . . . 

Criticism. 

And  rightfully,  but  Ervin  Duggan  with  Peter  Downey  [former  Senior  Vice 
President  of  Program  Business  Affairs]  helped  save  PBS  and  the  struc- 
ture. The  Station  Equity  Model  was  designed  to  give  member  stations  the 
best  return  on  their  programming  dollar  vis  a  vis  the  producing  stations 
(like  WGBH)  and  profitable  companies  like  those  producing  Barney.  But 
independent  producers  fall  into  neither  of  those  categories.  Duggan's 
model  1)  converted  public  funds  for  noncommercial  programming  into 
PBS  venture  capital;  2)  paid  absolutely  nothing  for  three  years'  exclu- 
sive broadcast  rights  to  indie  films;  3)  gave  PBS  equity  ownership  of 
indie  productions;  and  4)  threatened  the  ability  of  truly  independent 
voices  to  work  with  PBS.  [Ed.:  For  details,  see  Hedlund's  article  in 
March  2000.] 

If  we  were  bakers,  consider  doing  business  with  a  family  that  says: 
"Sure,  we  want  your  cookies.  Here's  the  deal:  you  do  the  baking, 
we'll  put  up  30%  of  the  money  to  buy  the  flour,  then  we  eat  100% 
of  the  cookies  for  three  years  without  paying  anything  for  them. 
By  the  way,  even  though  you're  still  in  debt  for  the  other  70%  it 
cost  to  buy  the  butter  and  chocolate  chips,  if  you  happen  to  sell 
a  few  crumbs  to  somebody  else,  we  are  the  first  in  line  to  gobble 
any  proceeds. 

We  have  to  make  ourselves  producer-friendly  in  every 
point  of  view.  We  certainly  don't  want  to  increase  our  rev- 
enues by  taking  them  away  from  producers.  That  makes 
no  sense  whatsoever.  I  can't  draw  you  a  model,  but  I  think 
every  case  needs  to  be  considered  individually. 

My  position  is  that  we  have  to  find  new  sources  of  rev- 
enue so  producers  don't  have  to  fundraise.  We  are  not 
going  to  get  that  from  Congress.  It's  not  just  sitting  in 
some  pool  where  I  can  call  and  say  "send  the  money  over, 
please."  I  am  looking  every  way  possible  to  get  new  money.  I 
don't  want  to  have  to  say  to  you,  "That  is  a  fabulous  documen- 
tary, hut  we  don't  have  any  money  to  give  you  a  licensing  fee." 
That's  not  right.  My  position  is  that  we  have  to  find  new 
sources  of  revenue  so  we  can  pay  what  a  producer  deserves  for 
the  work. 

Let's  look  at  the  numbers.  CPB  puts  up  15%  of  the  production  budget 
as  seed  money — in  the  few  projects  they  help  fund — and  last  year  PBS 


was  looking  to  put  in  30%  max. 

We've  kind  of  taken  away  those  percentages,  but  the  fact  is  we 
have  a  limited  amount  of  money.  We  are  the  only  public  televi- 
sion system  in  the  world  that  gets  less  than  20%  of  its  budget 
from  the  government.  Look  at  the  BBC  or  NHK  or  France.  It's 
a  complicated  situation  because,  fundamentally,  we  are  a  system 
that  was  set  aside  to  serve  the  public,  but  it's  pretty  much  an 
unfunded  set-aside.  [Canada,  with  1/8  our  population,  allocat- 
ed $800  million  to  public  broadcasting  in  1999,  whereas  the 
U.S.  allocated  $250  million] .  I  want  to  find  more  financing  from 
other  sources  so  we  can  put  more  money  up  to  fund  a  project. 

Nonetheless,  I  am  so  deeply  concerned  about  this  because  it 
really  does  come  back  to  finding  the  money  so  that  you  can  be 
courageous  but  you  don't  have  to  risk  personal  financial  securi- 
ty to  get  a  film  made.  Finding  ways  to  bring  us  all  together  so 
that  we  can  be  that  public  portal  for  ideas  and  issues  is  what  I'm 
trying  to  do. 

What  are  you  considering  for  securing  more  program  funding? 

Well,  we  get  less  than  6%  from  foundations.  Absolutely  outra- 
geous. Foundations  have  never  been  richer  in  this  country. 
More  of  their  money  needs  to  be  directed  toward  public  televi- 
sion projects.  We  haven't  gone  to  them  with  new  bold  ideas.  We 
need  to  do  that.  And  we  need  to  find  another  Exxon-Mobil. 
Are  there  no  other  companies  with  a  social-conscience,  for 
Heaven's  sakes? 


Who  picked  up  Ken 
Burns'  projects? 

Exxon-Mobil  is 
Masterpiece  Thea- 
ter and  General 
Motors  signed  on 


PBS  programming  in  the  Mitchell  era:  Martin 
Scorsese  (above)  is  executive  producing  The  Blues. 
a  G-part  series  on  blues  music  directed  by  a  pre- 
miere group  of  feature  filmmakers,  including  Spike 
Lee,  Michael  Apted  (left),  Charles  Burnett.  Marc 
Levin,  and  Wim  Wenders. 

for  Ken  Burns'  projects  until  2003. 
Is  there  only  one  General  Motors 
deal  to  be  made?  No,  I  don't 
believe  that.  We  have  to  go  out 
and  find  them.  What  I  wain  to  do 
is  to  help  our  producers,  both  in  the  stations  and  the  ones  like 
you,  to  come  with  the  big  idea.  Let's  find  some  new  sources  oi 
money,  because  I  don't  want  any  producer  to  spend  five  years 
fundraising. 

You've  talked  about  finding  other  sources  of  revenue.  Are  you  exploring 
some  kind  of  partnerships  with  commercial  entities,  perhaps  HBO? 
There  are  challenges  that  I'm  sure  you're  aware  of,  hut  I  think 

CONTINUED  ON  PAG 


|anuan  February    2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      39 


Christopher  Meloni  in  Kelly  Anderson's  Shift. 


Dramatic  Possibilities 


ITVS's  American  Stories 

After  the  plug  was  pulled  on  American  Playhouse, 
homegrown  dramatic  fiction  all  but  vanished  on 
public  television.  Since  then,  ITVS  has  stepped  in 
with  "American  Stories,"  an  initiative  designed 
to  fund  hour-long  narratives  for  television. 
GABRIELLE  IDLET  reports  on 
its  success  and  challenges. 


When  you  watch  television,  do  you  see  yourself?  Do  you  see  the  kinds  of  people  you  have  known, 
working  and  loving  and  living  in  the  ways  that  you  have  seen  them  work,  and  love,  and  live? 
do  you  see  the  places  that  matter  to  you,  the  rural  communities  or  great  expanses  of  wilder- 
ness or  the  dense,  entropic  city  streets  that  have  given  shape  to  you,  your  family,  your  friends? 


Most  likely  not,  unless  you  happen  to  work  in  medicine  or 
law  enforcement  or  the  White  House  (which,  if  you're  reading 
this  magazine,  you  probably  don't).  And  while  the  best  televi- 
sion can,  on  rare  occasions,  capture  the  murky  complexities  of 
our  human  lives  that  transcend  vocation,  almost  never  does  a 
TV  drama  truly  mirror  our  discomfort  or  confusion  or  awk- 
wardness, or  echo  the  emotional  minor  notes  that  fill  our  days. 
For  these  things,  we  go  to  the  movies.  (Or  we  purchase  cable 
and  find  our  way  to  independent  films  on  IFC  or  the  Sundance 
Channel.) 

If,  however,  you  happen  to  switch  on  a  PBS  station  in  the 
right  town  at  the  right  time,  you  might  just  find  yourself  watch- 
ing an  hour-long  drama  that  does  all  those  things,  produced  by 
the  Independent  Television  Service  (ITVS)  through  its 
American  Stories  initiative.  Three  have  come  out  this  year,  and 
seven  more  are  in  the  works  or  awaiting  release.  Of  the  ones 
completed  thus  far,  all  have  in  common  the  originality  of  their 
makers'  visions  and  a  vital  specificity  that  comes  from  being 
rooted  in  American  region. 

Four  years  ago,  ITVS  sent  out  the  first  of  three  annual  calls 
asking  independent  filmmakers  to  submit  applications  for  either 
script  development  or  production  funding  under  their  new 
American  Stories  initiative.  The  project  was  designed  to  fill  the 
gap  left  by  the  dissolution  of  American  Playhouse,  PBS's  long- 
running  program  of  high-quality  original  drama,  which  was 
phased  out  over  time  for  financial  reasons.  "At  this  point,  most 
of  the  dramatic  work  you  see  on  public  television  is  British 
stuff — Masterpiece  Theatre,  Mystery,  or  what  I'd  call  period 
pieces  by  dead  authors,"  says  David  Liu,  executive  in  charge  of 
programming  and  development  at  ITVS.  "With  American 
Stories,  we  were  looking  to  find  a  whole  range  of  voices,  con- 
temporary voices,  filmmakers  willing  to  take  creative  risks  in  any 
shape  or  form." 

So  in  1997  ITVS  let  it  be  known  that  they  wished  to  fund  a 
handful  of  narrative  projects  intended  for  public  TV  broadcast 
to  the  tune  of  $300,000  each,  and  that  it  would  give  its  film- 
makers full  "creative,  editorial,  and  financial  control  of  the  pro- 
duction." Not  a  bad  proposition.  As  ITVS's  programming  man- 
ager Richard  Saiz  puts  it,  "I  mean,  can  you  think  of  anybody 
who  will  give  you  a  whole  six-figure  budget,  where  you  don't 
have  to  raise  a  penny?  It's  like  manna." 

Selected  filmmakers  were  expected  to  adhere  to  a  couple  of 
basic  rules:  come  in  on  budget,  and  don't  exceed  the  stipulated 
length  of  a  TV  hour  (56:40).  Reasoning  for  the  former  is  obvi- 
ous; reasoning  for  the  latter,  according  to  ITVS,  is  twofold. 
First,  as  Liu  says,  "American  Stories  was  conceived  to  be  a  lab," 
through  which  emerging  filmmakers  and  documentarians  look- 
ing to  cross  over  could  work  in  the  narrative  form.  Limiting 
each  project's  length  would  give  these  artists  an  opportunity  to 
explore  dramatic  filmmaking  sans  the  pressures  that  go  along 
with  producing  a  full-length  feature.  Second,  since  its  begin- 


nings, ITVS  has  held  as  a  central  component  of  its  mission  the 
aim  to  bring  new  audiences  to  the  public  broadcast  arena.  With 
that  in  mind,  they  were  adamant  that  filmmakers  gear 
American  Stories  projects  toward  television  viewers  rather  than 
theatrical  audiences. 


A, 


l.merican  Stories  was  not  ITVS's  first  effort  to 
attract  narrative  filmmakers.  In  1992,  four  years  after  the 
Independent  Television  Service  was  established  by  Congress  to 
fund  and  present  independently-produced  programs  for  public 
television,  ITVS  issued  a  special  call  for  dramatic  work.  That 
initiative  brought  forth  its  TV  Families  series,  which  included 
work  by  soon-to-be  well-known  independents  Todd  Haynes 
(Dottie  Gets  Spanked)  and  Tamara  Jenkins  (Family  Remains).  In 
fact,  ITVS  supports  the  development  of  dramatic  work  through 
a  variety  of  on-going  funding  programs  and  on  an  individual 
basis  as  well.  Among  ITVS's  recent  narrative  projects  are  Robby 
Henson's  Pharoah's  Army,  David  Riker's  La  Ciudad,  and  Carlos 
Avila's  Foto-novelas  series,  all  of  which  have  garnered  significant 
attention  on  a  national  level. 

Though  many  people  aren't  aware  of  it,  ITVS's  bi-annual 
Open  Call  invites  filmmakers  to  propose  projects  of  all  kinds. 
However,  the  vast  majority  of  applications  the  organization 
receives  tend  to  be  aimed  at  documentary  funding.  A  full  80 
percent  of  March  2001  Open  Call  submissions  were  for  docu- 
mentaries, while  only  six  percent  were  for  dramas,  with  the 
remainder  made  up  of  animation,  experimental,  and  children's 
programming.  American  Stories  has  been,  quite  simply,  a  high- 
visibility  push  intended  to  spark  the  idea  in  the  right  sorts  of 
filmmakers  that  they  ought  to  consider  creating  original  drama 
for  public  television  audiences. 

Which  is  exactly  what  it  has  done.  Each  of  the  three  annual 
calls  for  American  Stories  production  proposals  yielded  over  30 
submissions,  roughly  double  the  dramatic  submissions  each 
Open  Call  brings  in.  Applications  for  script  development  fund- 
ing neared  100  submissions  each  time.  (ITVS  has  funded  a  total 
of  10  scripts  for  development  through  the  initiative,  three  of 
which  it  has  optioned  to  produce.)  A  perusal  of  the  five 
American  Stories  projects  available  for  viewing  at  press  time 
suggests  that  the  initiative  has  succeeded  in  inspiring  an  engag- 
ing range  of  productions,  works  deeply  grounded  in  the  diverse 
environments  from  which  they  come. 

Andrew  Garrison's  The  Wilgus  Stories,  for  instance,  offers  us  a 
view  of  life  in  Eastern  Kentucky  that  goes  a  long  way  toward 
inverting  patronizing  stereotypes  of  Appalachian  coal  mining 
communities  (perceptions  that  emerged,  m  pan.  from  some  of 
the  ethnographic  documentaries  that  put  the  region  on  our 
nation's  cultural  map  during  the  1%0's  War  on  Poverty'). 
Tender,  complex,  and  deeply  intelligent,  Wilgus  is  a  coming  ol 
age  drama  told  in  three  parts. 

"I  had  worked  for  years  in  documentary,  producing  n\v  own 


January/February  2001    THE    INDEPENDENT 


Ned  Beany  in  Andrew  Garrison's 
southern  trilogy  The  Wilgus  Stories 


work,  and  shooting  and  taping 
sound  for  other  people,  and  I 
was  interested  in  trying  fiction," 
says  Garrison.  "I  didn't  know 
whether  I  could  do  it  or  not." 
Garrison  made  Wilgus's  first  sec- 
tion as  a  stand-alone  short  a 
decade  ago.  He  then  went  hunt- 
ing for  funds  in  the  hope  that  he  could  generate  several  other 
cinematic  chapters  to  the  piece  and  form  an  unusual  sort  of  fea- 
ture; as  it  happened,  ITVS  funded  the  film's  second  section  as 
part  of  its  TV  Families  program.  Under  the  American  Stories 
initiative,  ITVS  covered  final  production  costs  for  the  film's  last 
section  and  took  on  the  work  of  marketing  and  distributing  the 
trilogy  to  programmers. 

The  Wilgus  Stories  exemplifies  the  initiative's  greatest 
strength — its  aim  to  support  authentically  American  stories  in 
the  form  of  innovative  dramas.  "With  ITVS,  I  made  the  argu- 
ment that  this  part  of  the  South  doesn't  usually  get  seen  and 
handled  in  this  way,"  says  Garrison,  "and  also  there's  a  class  ele- 
ment. We  don't  often  see  working  people  speaking  for  them- 
selves." Adapted  from  Gurney  Norman's  novel  Kinfolks,  the 
film  has  the  quality  of  being  intermittently  quiet  in  the  same 
way  that  the  best  literature  leaves  "white  space"  for  leaps  of 
thought  from  readers.  Wilgus  encourages  us  to  consider — and 
thus  begin  to  understand — these  particular  fellow  Americans. 
Some  2,000  miles  to  the  West,  the  San  Francisco -based  Jim 
Mendiola  had  made  a  short,  Pretty  Vacant,  and  was  developing 
a  one-act  play  related  to  the  legendary  Texas  tale  of  Gregorio 
Cortez,  when  he  saw  the  American  Stories  call  for  submissions. 
His  resulting  ITVS-funded  film,  Come  and  Take  it  Day,  tracks 
the  efforts  of  a  group  of  contemporary  Chicano  restaurant 
workers  to  find  the  buried  silver  offered  a  100  years  ago  for  the 
martyred  Mexican  American  folk  hero's  capture.  As  much  an 
exploration  of  the  corrupting  lure  of  assimilation  as  it  is  a  mod- 
ern treasure  hunt,  the  film,  currently  in  postproduction,  raises 
questions  of  identity  and  responsibility  to  one's  history.  Beyond 
that,  Mendiola  has  sought  to  present  public  television  audi- 
ences with  multilayered  Chicano  characters — fully  realized 
people  whose  interests  roam  from  politics  and  social  change  to 
the  intricacies  of  pop  culture  on  both  sides  of  the  border. 

Says  Mendiola,  a  curator  of  Chicano  cinema  who  writes  on 
film  for  the  San  Francisco  Bay  Guardian,  "The  great  thing  about 
public  television  is  that  everyone  can  potentially  tune  in  to  it. 
You  don't  have  to  have  cable."  With  Come  and  Take  it  Day, 
Mendiola  hopes  to  reach  "regular  PBS  viewers  who  have  an 
idea  of  what  Mexican  Americans  are  like — and  this  will  totally 
challenge  their  thinking  on  that — as  well  as  every  Mexican- 
American  or  Latino  with  a  TV  who'll  see  that  there's  some- 
thing on  public  television  for  them." 

Other  works  range  widely  in  content  and  style.  Kelly 
Anderson's  Shift  follows  the  slender  thread  of  a  romance 
between  a  prisoner  and  a  waitress  in  bleak,  suburban  South 
Carolina,  while  producers  Bruce  Kuerten  and  John  Dijulio  and 
director  Rudy  Gaines'  The  Cracker  Man  explores  a  woman's 
love  for  her  100-year-old  grandfather  in  rural  Alabama.  Andre 
Degas'  The  Kitchen  examines  the  cultural  and  generational  bat- 


tles between  an  Egyptian  immigrant  shopkeeper  living  in  New 
York  City  and  his  musician  son,  and  Michael  Hacker's  Guide 
Season  focuses  on  the  struggle  of  a  Montana  hunting  guide  to 
hold  onto  a  disappearing  way  of  life  in  the  face  of  societal  and 
environmental  change.  These  are  smart  films,  and  even  where 
they  are  wet  behind  the  ears  with  the  relative  newness  of  their 
makers,  they  do  something  important:  they  introduce  us  to  sliv- 
ers of  American  experience  not  regularly  shown  on  television. 
They  reflect  real  people — if  not  ourselves,  then  others  around 
us;  if  not  those  we've  encountered,  then  those  we  might  easily 
come  upon  if  we  were  to  travel  any  distance  in  our  own  coun- 
try with  an  open  heart  and  a  cocked  ear. 


s 


O,  ARE  THESE  WORKS  MAKING  IT  TO  A  PUBLIC  TELEVISION  STA- 
tion  near  you?  Of  the  three  that  have  been  broadcast  thus  far, 
all  were  offered  to  PBS  for  national  hard  feeds — and  all  were 
declined.   (With  hard  feeds,  stations  generally  air  the  show 

simultaneously 


Urban  Tejanos 
go  after  the 
fabled  treasure 
of  Gregorio 
Cortez  in  Jim 
Mendiola's 
Come  and  Take 
It  Day. 


with  the  feed 
and  take  advan- 
tage of  its  na- 
tional promo- 
tion.) The 
Cracker  Man 
was  accepted  as 
a  PBS-Plus  feed 
(which  offers  a  soft  feed  at  off-hours;  in  this  case,  stations  gen- 
erally tape  a  program,  then  broadcast  at  their  discretion  during 
a  month-long  window) .  As  of  late  fall,  The  Cracker  Man  has  had 
a  decent  run  with  299  air  dates,  most  of  them  around  the  4th  of 
July  (the  holiday  during  which  the  him  takes  place).  The  Wilgus 
Stories  and  Shift,  which  were  offered  to  stations  directly  by  ITVS 
after  PBS  refused  them,  have  had  45  and  20  airings  respective- 
ly. Guide  Season  was  declined  by  PBS  and  was  set  to  be  offered 
to  stations  by  ITVS  in  November,  as  this  issue  went  to  press. 
With  only  three  of  10  works  as  of  yet  out  in  the  world,  it's  too 
early  to  draw  conclusions  about  the  relative  success  of  their  pro- 
gramming. Nonetheless,  it  appears  that  both  national  and  local 
PBS  programmers  have  been  less  than  universally  receptive  to 
these  works.  What's  the  story? 

Says  Wilgus' s  Garrison,  "Part  of  the  problem  with  ITVS — and 
I  love  ITVS — is  that  its  own  mission  makes  it  difficult:  If  you're 
serving  underserved  audiences,  then  you're  making  material 
that  not  everybody  wants  to  see.  So  these  program  directors 
look  at  this,  and  many  of  them  say,  'we  don't  have  an  audience 
for  this.'  "  Lois  Vossen,  ITVS's  director  of  broadcast  distribution 
and  communications,  adds:  "I  empathize  with  the  programmers. 
Of  course,  there's  the  public  and  then  there's  the  public  televi- 
sion audience,  which  is  a  totally  different  thing.  The  program- 
mers would  love  to  serve  the  larger  public,  but  their  demo- 
graphics are  white  people  between  the  ages  of  40  and  85,"  she 
points  out.  "ITVS  is  trying  to  expand  who  turns  on  public  tele- 
vision, and  programmers  understand  that  and  welcome  that, 
but  they're  still  trying  to  serve  a  core  audience  that's  basically 
sending  in  their  pledge  every  month." 

"I'm  not  that  happy  with  the  carriage  of  Shift"  remarks  Kelly 
Anderson.  "[But]  I  actually  feel  good  about  ITVS's  marketing 


42     THE    INDEPENDENT     January/February  2001 


of  it.  They  put  it  out  there.  And  the  film  did  okay  festival-wise. 
It  premiered  at  Rotterdam,  and  it  did  a  number  of  festivals  in 
the  United  States.  I  just  don't  know  how  dramas  find  a  home  at 
PBS." 

Arguably,  because  the  films  are  not  presented  as  parts  in  a 
series,  they  can  have  a  difficult  time  making  it  through  the  pro- 
gramming labyrinth.  As  Anderson  puts  it,  "One-time  airings  is 

a  hard  context  for  this 
kind  of  film.  I  think 
Shift  would  have  lived 
well  with  a  group  of 
dramas,  because  it's  a 
little  bit  less  tradition- 
al. This  is  just  my 
guess,  but  it  might 
have  been  hard  for 
programmers  to 

understand  it." 

But  Scott  Dwyer,  program  director  at  San  Francisco's  KQED, 
suggests  that  the  opposite  has  been  true  in  his  experience.  "It's 
easier  to  schedule  them  not  as  a  series,  but  instead  as  individ- 
ual shows."  Dwyer,  who  has  aired  all  three  American  Stories 
films  available  so  far,  notes  that  dramas  from  American 
Playhouse  and  documentaries  from  PBS's  PO.  V  series,  for  exam- 
ple— both  of  which  carry  with  them  the  brand  and  visibility  of 
their  series  names — have  done  just  as  well  when  broadcast  as 
stand-alone  shows  as  when  aired  in  a  series  time-slot. 

According  to  Vossen,  ITVS  did  in  fact  aim  to  offer  the  initial 
three  American  Stories  films  as  a  series  to  public  television  sta- 
tions, but  feedback  from  programmers  indicated  that  they 
wouldn't  be  likely  to  broadcast  them  as  a  group,  given  their  dis- 
tinct stylistic  differences.  Indeed,  echoes  ITVS's  Liu,  "American 
Stories  has  produced  some  very  interesting  things,  but  never- 
theless they  do  cause  some  problems  for  programmers  because 
they    don't    fit    in 


existing  boxes;  they 
are  all  one  of  a 
kind." 


A, 


The  Kitchen:  A  son  defies  his  Egyptian  father's 
wishes  in  Andre  Degas'  New  York-set  drama. 


.SK  AROUND, 
though,  and  every- 
one seems  to  wish 
there  was  more 
American  drama  on 
public  television. 
Says  Gayle  Loeber,  who  served  as  ITVS's  director  of  marketing 
before  moving  to  NETA,  a  public  television  association  of 
member  stations,  "There  just  isn't  much  narrative  work  on  PBS. 
Masterpiece  Theatre,  sometimes  Great  Performances,  a  few  of  the 
new  initiatives  that  are  coming  through,  but  for  the  most  part 
there  isn't  much."  In  part,  Loeber  stresses,  this  is  due  to  the  fact 
that  dramatic  work  is  so  much  more  costly  to  produce  than  doc- 
umentary. 

"There's  a  perception  that  PBS  has  all  this  British  drama,  but 
where's  the  American  work?"  PBS  spokesman  Harry  Forbes 
agrees.  "The  reality  is  that  Exxon-Mobil  has  fully  underwritten 
Masterpiece  Theatre  for  all  these  years,  so  it  doesn't  cost  PBS  a 


A  hunting  guide  attempts  to  reconcile  his 
life  with  changing  social  attitudes  in 
Guide  Season. 


cent.  That's  why  there's  been  a  consistent  presence  of  British 
drama,  and  a  less  consistent  presence  of  American  drama. 
American  drama  is  just  very,  very  expensive." 

But  worth  it,  believes  Shift  director  Anderson.  "Why  should 
I  have  to  pay  $4-95  a  month  to  get  my  Sundance  Channel 
Sundays,"  she  wonders,  "when  it  seems  to  me  clearly  that  this  is 
the  kind  of  work  that  should  be  on  public  television?  It's  inno- 
vative, it's  experimental,  it's  different,  it's  new  voices — I  mean, 
it's  everything  that  PBS  is  about." 

Many  are  hopeful  that  PBS's  high-powered  new  president  Pat 
Mitchell,  who  hails  from  the  cable  broadcasting  arena  and,  it  so 
happens,  sits  on  the  board  of  the  Sundance  Institute,  will  push 
for  more  dramatic  work.  [See  interview  page  36.]  "Because 
Mitchell's  a  producer,  she  may  be  bringing  a  different  sensibility 
to  that  side  of  it,"  says  Loeber. 

Indeed,  PBS  has  been  involved  in  the  development  of  sever- 
al new  dramatic  series  that  are  aimed  at  replenishing  the  public 
TV  landscape  with  narrative 
work  based  in  the  U.S. 
Exxon-Mobil  Masterpiece 
Theater's  American  Collection, 
a  series  launched  last  fall 
through  a  partnership 
between  the  BBC,  WGBH/ 
Boston,  and  Alt  Films,  aims 
to  generate  high-quality 
drama  drawn  from  stories  by 
U.S.  authors  like  Langston 
Hughes,  Henry  James,  and 
Tennessee  Williams.  Another 
series,  WNET  New  York's 
Stage  on  Screen,  produces  the- 
atrical work  for  public  television;  its  first  program,  The  Man 
Who  Came  to  Dinner,  was  broadcast  live  last  October.  And  from 
KCET  in  Los  Angeles,  PBS  Hollywood  Television  is  creating  char- 
acter-driven dramas  and  comedies,  shot  on  a  sound  stage  in  a 
style  reminiscent  of  Hollywood's  Golden  Age. 

"We  have  long  felt  the  need  for  an  increased  presence  of 
American  drama  on  PBS,"  Forbes  notes.  "And,  though 
American  drama  is  the  most  expensive  of  programming  forms, 
we  think  these  new  series  will  go  a  long  way  towards  plugging 
that  hole." 

As  for  American  Stories,  says  ITVS's  Liu,  while  the  remain- 
ing selected  projects  take  shape  and  find  their  way  onto  public 
television,  ITVS  has  placed  the  funding  of  new  work  on  hold  so 
that  it  can  evaluate  the  program.  Liu  anticipates  that  the  orga- 
nization will  issue  another  call  for  dramas  sometime  this  sum- 
mer or  fall.  And  whether  or  not  the  bulk  of  the  American 
Stories  films  enjoy  widespread  programming  on  PBS,  the 
Independent  Television  Service  remains  committed  to  fighting 
the  good  tight.  "What  1  always  remind  myself  and  mv  staff  i> 
that  we're  here  to  change  public  television,"  says  Vossen.  "If 
everything  we  did  was  embraced,  then  we  wouldn't  be  funding 
all  the  right  things.  We're  pushing  the  envelope." 

A  fiction  writer  and  arts  journalist  who  has  published  in  such  magazines  as 

Us,  Penthouse,  the  Indiana  Review,  and  Filmmaker,  Gabrielle  Idlet  was 

the  Sundance  Institute's  first  Writer  in  Residence. 


January/February    2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      43 


1 


SHOOTING  GALLERY  ENTERTAINMENT 

BY    LlSSA    GlBBS 


Ck    ^n 

Chairman  of 

Shooting  Gallery  Entertainment, 

*r*            ^M: 

Shooting  Gallery 

609  Greenwich  St., 

■~2%M_                      •*  1 

Entertainment 

Larry  Meistrich 

New  York,  NY  10014; 

(212)  905-2001;  fax:  905-1789; 

(r)  Shooting 
Gallery  Films 
President 

www.shootinggallery.com; 

contact:  Larry  Meistrich, 

*■  Ji 

Eamonn  Bowles. 

Chairman/CEO 

What  is  Shooting  Gallery  Entertainment? 

Shooting  Gallery  Entertainment  is  a  film,  TV,  music, 
development/production/distribution  company. 

Who  is  Shooting  Gallery  Entertainment? 

Shooting  Gallery  Entertainment  management 
includes:  Larry  Meistrich  (Chairman/CEO); 
Stephen  Carlis  (President);  Eamonn  Bowles 
(President,  Shooting  Gallery  Films);  Josh  Kane 
(President,  Shooting  Gallery  Television);  and  Phil 
Carson  (President,  Shooting  Gallery  Music). 

Total  number  of  employees: 

More  than  100. 

How,  when,  and  why  did  Shooting  Gallery 
Entertainment  come  into  being? 

Shooting  Gallery  Entertainment  was  started  for 
the  simple  purpose  of  providing  production  oppor- 
tunities, so  filmmakers  and  other  artists  could  tell 
their  stories.  Since  1990  we  have  transformed  to 
all  media  including  film,  TV,  and  music  in  terms  of 
development  and  production.  We've  produced 
roughly  100  projects  for  film,  TV,  and  commer- 
cial/music video.  [For  a  story  on  the  acquisition  of 
Gun  for  Hire  and  other  service  operations  of  The 
Shooting  Gallery,  see  p.  11.] 

Unofficial  motto  or  driving  philosophy: 

To  inspire  artistic  expression  and  act  as  a  creative 
developer,  producer,  and  distributor. 

When  did  you  start  distributing  films  other 
than  the  ones  you  produced? 

We  have  only  been  distributing  since  1998  and  our 
third  release,  /  Went  Down,  was  our  first  acquisi- 
tion. 


What  types  of  works  do  you  distribute? 

Well,  as  much  as  possible,  we  try  to  distribute 
films  that  have  a  point  of  view  that  can  connect 
with  an  audience.  We're  not  too  interested  in 
generic  stuff. 

What  drives  you  to  distribute  the  films  you  do? 

While  everything  is  ultimately  a  business  decision, 
whether  the  film  appeals  to  us  personally  is  the 
driving  force.  So  much  effort  and  commitment  are 
needed  to  get  many  of  these  films  off  the  ground 
that  we  have  to  be  inspired  by  what  we're  pro- 
moting in  order  to  do  it  the  best  way  we  can.  This 
is  a  tough  business  and  there  are  easier  ways  to 
make  money,  but  the  rewards  for  success  with  a 
film  we  really  care  about  are  pretty  incomparable. 


Shooting  Gallery's  latest 
films:  Julie  Johnson  and 
A  Time  for  Drunken 
Horses. 


Are  you  also  involved  in  co-production  or  co- 
financing  of  works? 

We  produce  and  acquire  pictures.  We  also  co-pro- 
duce productions  such  as  the  award-winning  You 
Can  Count  on  Me,  which  we  produced  with  Hart 
Sharp  Entertainment,  and  the  upcoming  Love 
Comes  to  the  Executioner  with  Sandra  Bullock's 
Fortis  Films.  We  are  co-producing  a  Sun  Records 
documentary  with  Middle  Fork  Productions  and 
WNET/New  York's  American  Masters  series. 

Where  do  Shooting  Gallery  titles  generally 
show? 

At  the  top  markets  that  reach  the  target  audi- 
ences. 

In  1999  you  began  distributing  a  package  of 
films  twice  a  year.  Can  you  describe  how  this 
works? 

The  package  of  films  you're  referring  to  is  the 
Shooting  Gallery  Film  Series.  What  we  do  basical- 
ly is  acquire  high  quality  films  that  for  whatever 
reasons  have  not  gotten  satisfactory  deals  for  the- 
atrical distribution.  We  then  give  the  films  a  two 
week  nationwide  theatrical  run  in  16  cities  at 
Loews  Cineplex  Theatres.  The  big  plus  we  have  is 
that  we've  secured  corporate  sponsorship  to  pay 
for  the  advertising  costs  of  these  two-week  runs. 
This  allows  us  to  take  a  chance  on  great  films  and 
be  able  to  support  them  with  a  substantial  ad 
campaign,  which  is  vital  in  today's  incredibly 
crowded  marketplace.  We  release 
12  films  a  year  in  this  program — 
six  in  the  spring  series  and  six  in 
the  fall.  We  also  have  output  deals 
with  Blockbuster  video  and 
Starz/Encore  cable  for  these  films. 
The  exciting  thing  about  this  whole 
program  is  that  we  get  to  release  a 
lot  of  films  that  would  never  have 
had  the  chance  to  get  theatrical 
distribution,  and  some  of  them 
have  been  among  the  best 
reviewed  films  of  the  year,  and,  in 
the  case  of  Croupier,  one  of  the  big 
commercial  specialized  hits  of  the 
year. 

What  happens  if  one  of  those 


3e 

<->  c 


44     THE    INDEPENDENT     January/February  2001 


films  is  especially  popular  with  audiences?  Is 
it  held  over? 

If  the  film  is  well  received  in  the  two-week  run,  it 
can  be  held  over,  expanded,  and  opened  in  other 
cities.  This  has  happened  to  some  extent  with 
every  film  we've  released  in  the  series.  If  the  film 
works,  we  have  the  ability  to  expand  it  as  much  as 
the  market  will  bear. 


(below)  Edie  Falco  and  Aaron  Harnick  in  Eric 
Mendelsohn's  Judy  Berlin,  which  kicked  off 
Shooting  Gallery's  successful  screening  series. 

From  Croupier,  Shooting  Gallery's  summer 
2000  series  breakthrough  success. 


Range  of  production  budgets  of  titles  in  your 
collection: 

The  amount  it  costs  to  create  art  is  irrelevant. 

Biggest  change  at  Shooting  Gallery  Entertain- 
ment in  recent  years: 

Philosophically,  there  has  been  no  change. 
Changes  revolve  around  growing  and  now  reach- 
ing markets  with  specialized  releases  through  our 


Films  and  filmmakers  you've  distributed 
through  this  series: 

Bob  Gosse's  upcoming  Julie  Johnson,  starring  Lili 
Taylor  and  Courtney  Love;  Frank  Novak's  Better 
Housekeeping;  Bahman  Ghobadi's  A  Time  for 
Drunken  Horses  (Camera  d'Or,  Cannes 
International  Film  Festival  2001);  Kenneth 
Lonergan's  You  Can  Count  on  Me  (Grand  Jury 
Prize  &  Waldo  Salt  Screenwriting  Award,  2001 
Sundance  Film  Festival);  Mike  Hodges'  Croupier-, 
Eric  Mendelsohn's  Judy  Berlin-,  Billy  Bob 
Thornton's  Sling  Blade-,  and  Bruce  Sinofsky's  Sun 
Records  documentary,  which  currently  is  in  pro- 
duction for  both  television  and  theatrical  releases. 

Where  do  you  find  your  titles  and  how  should 
filmmakers  approach  you  for  consideration? 

We  mostly  find  them  at  major  film  festivals,  but 
basically  wherever  films  are  screened,  we'll  check 
them  out.  Also,  from  a  steady  diet  of  tapes  that  we 
solicit.  Because  we're  covering  the  world's  output 
of  cinema  with  a  very  limited,  yet  devoted  staff, 
it's  very  hard  to  process  the  unsolicited  submis- 
sions, unless  they  arrive  with  recommendations  or 
tangible  selling  elements.  It's  simply  a  question  of 
hours  in  the  day. 


film  series  with  Loews  Cineplex  Entertainment. 

The  most  important  issue  facing  Shooting 
Gallery  Entertainment  today  is . . . 

maintaining  artistic  integrity  and  high  quality  in  an 
ever-competitive  marketplace. 

Where  will  Shooting  Gallery  Entertainment  be 
10  years  from  now? 

According  to  our  lease:  609  Greenwich  Street. 

What's  your  basic  approach  to  releasing  a 
title? 

Securing  a  core  constituency  for  the  film  and 
building  from  there.  The  hardest  thing  to  do  is  get 
a  film  off  the  ground. 

Best  distribution  experience  you've  had  lately: 

Sometimes  we  put  a  film  out  and  we  can't  keep 
the  public  away.  But  often  our  best  efforts  are  on 
things  that  don't  work,  so  it's  doubly  rewarding 
when  something  catches  on.  That's  what  hap- 
pened with  Croupier  last  summer,  and  it  kind  of 
reassured  me  that  there  still  is  a  substantial  audi- 
ence for  complex,  challenging,  unsentimental 
films  that  don't  have  big  stars  or  marketing  bud- 
gets that  could  feed  the  world's  poor. 


If  you  weren't  distributing  films,  what  would 
you  be  doing? 

Considering  I've  dedicated  my  entire  professional 
life  to  creating  Shooting  Gallery,  I've  never  thought 
about  doing  something  else. 

What  would  people  be  most  surprised  to  learn 
about  your  company  or  its  founders? 

That  inside  our  macho  exteriors  is  a  little  girl 
yearning  to  be  free  (not  really).  That  our  execu- 
tives are  all  accomplished  ballroom  dancers. 

Other  distributors  that  you  admire  and  why: 

Strand  Releasing  and  Sony  Pictures  Classics  have 
remained  very  focused  on  creative  and  fit  it  into 
successful  business  models. 

The  best  film  you've  seen  lately  was . . . 

A  Time  for  Drunken  Horses — it's  truly  an  amaz- 
ing film. 

What's  the  difference  between  Shooting 
Gallery  and  other  distributors  of  independent 
films? 

The  one  thing  I  really  like  about  this  place  is  that 
we're  open  minded  and  receptive  to  ideas  that 
make  sense.  There  is  no  calcified  path  to  follow- 
just  what's  right  for  each  individual  film.  I  think 
we've  got  a  good  track  record  (and  our  Film  Series 
is  emblematic  of  this)  of  coming  up  with  smart 
ways  around  the  hurdles. 

If  you  could  only  give  independent  filmmakers 
one  bit  of  advice  it  would  be  to  . . . 

do  your  homework.  This  industry  is  not  a  charity. 
It's  the  business  of  being  in  the  arts. 

Upcoming  titles  to  watch  for: 

Julie  Johnson,  directed  by  Bob  Gosse,  written  by 
Wendy  Hammond  and  Bob  Gosse.  starring  Lili 
Taylor  and  Courtney  Love.  Better  Housekeeping, 
written  and  directed  by  Frank  Novak.  As  part  of 
the  Spring  2001  season  of  the  Film  Series,  we 
have  The  Day  I  Became  A  Woman.  Eureka,  The 
Burning  Man,  The  Last  Resort  and  When  Brendan 
Met  Trudy. 

The  future  of  independent  film  distribution  in 
this  country  is  one  that . . . 

is  bleak  in  the  short  term  because  of  the  cost  of 
releasing  films,  but  is  bright  further  down  because 
as  broadband  develops  it  will  change  everything 
in  niche  and  specialized  marketplaces. 

Distributor  FAQ  profiles  a  wide  range  of  distribu- 
tors of  independent  film  and  video.  Send  profile 
suggestions  to  Lissa  Gibbs.  co  The  Independent. 
304  Hudson  St..  6  ft.  New  York.  NY  10013:  or  drop 
an  email  to  lissag@earthlink.net. 

Lissa  Gibbs  is  a  contributing  editor  to 
The  independent  and  former  Film  Arts  Foundation 

Fest  director. 


January/February    AVI    THE    INDEPENDENT      45 


ECHO  LAKE 


CHELLE    COE 


I  worked  for  a  producer  named  Michael  Nesmith 
who  helped  finance  indie  films  such  as  Repo  Man 
and  Tape  Heads.  Before  that  I  founded  a  compa- 
ny called  Yearlook/Camp  TV  that  produces  videos 


Doug 

Mankoff, 

President 


Echo  Lake  Productions,  LLC, 

213  Rose  Av.,  2nd  fl.,  Venice,  CA  90291; 

(310)  399-9164;  fax:  399-9278; 

contact@echolakeproductions.com; 

Doug  Mankoff,  President, 

Mark  Dempsey,  Director  of  Development 


What  is  Echo  Lake  Productions? 

Echo  Lake  is  a  film  fund  for  indepen 
dent  features.  At  the  moment,  Echo 
Lake  only  finances  and  produces  nar- 
rative films,  as  opposed  to  documen- 
taries. There  are  two  sides  to  the 
company:  the  financing  side,  which  acts 
like  an  aggressive 
entertainment  ECHO    LAKE    P 

bank,    serving   the      production  company  and  film 

needs  of  producers 

who  lack  some  or  all  of  their  financing;  and  the' 
producing  side,  which  options  and  develops  pro- 
jects that  the  company  will  help  finance. 

When  and  why  did  Echo  Lake  come  into  being? 

I  (Doug  Mankoff)  founded  the  company  in  1997  by 
raising  the  fund  from  private  investors.  The  mis- 
sion of  the  company  is  to  help  make  films  that 
matter. 

The  driving  philosophy  behind  Echo  Lake 
Productions  is . . . 

that  it  is  possible  to  invest  in  films  in  a  smart  way. 
I  saw  that  banks  were  investing  in  films.  Banks 
typically  avoid  risk.  I  decided  to  raise  a  fund 
designed  to  take  on  more  risk  than  banks  would 
take  and  to  charge  slightly  more  for  that  increased 
risk.  The  fund  is  set  up  to  be  somewhat  like 
socially  responsible  mutual  funds.  We  only  invest 
in  films  that  are  about  things  that  matter. 

Who  is  the  staff  of  Echo  Lake  Productions? 

Peter  Wetherell  is  our  foreign  sales  consultant  and 
helps  us  evaluate  projects  from  a  financial  per- 
spective. Mark  Dempsey  is  our  director  of  devel- 
opment and  helps  us  evaluate  projects  from  a  cre- 
ative perspective.  The  company  has  a  long-stand- 
ing relationship  with  producer  Robin  Alper  (Things 
Beneath  the  Sun-,  La  Ciudad),  who  steers  a  lot  of 
interesting  projects  our  way. 

The  company  is  relatively  young;  what  were 
you  and  Peter  doing  before  you  founded  Echo 
Lake? 


for  schools  and  camps.  I  have  both  busi- 
ness school  and  film  school  back- 
grounds, so  I  try  to  examine  film 
financing  from  both  perspectives. 
Peter  Wetherell  used  to  be  a  foreign 
sales   agent  for  Columbia   TriStar 
International  Television  and  Entertain- 
ment   Licensing    in 
ODUCTtONS  Germany. 

Fund  for  the  independents      .. 

How  many  projects 
do  you  fund,  both  as 

investments  and  as  loans,  on  average  each 

year? 

Two  to  three. 

How  many  projects  have  you  funded  since  your 
inception?  What  have  been  the  distribution/ 
exhibition  paths  of  those  projects? 

Echo  Lake  has  funded  seven  features  to  date.  Our 
biggest  success  was  the  completion  money  we 
provided  for  David  Riker's  The  City  (La  Ciudad), 
which  enjoyed  a  limited  arthouse  release  run  last 
fall  through  Zeitgeist  Films  and  recently  aired  on 
PBS  stations  across  the  country.  We  continue  to 
sell  La  Ciudad  to  foreign  distributors.  Other  pro- 
jects Echo  Lake  has  provided  financing  for  include 
A  Dog  of  Flanders,  which  got  a  pretty  wide  the- 
atrical release  two  years  ago  through  Warner 
Bros.,  and  Things  Behind  the  Sun,  the  new  fea- 
ture from  Allison  Anders  that  we  co-financed  with 
Sidekick  Entertainment,  a  similar  fund  based  here 
in  LA. 

What  is  the  estimated  dollar  amount  per  pro- 
ject (loaned  and  invested)? 

Usually  between  $500,000  and  $1,000,000.  This 
amount  can  often  provide  the  crucial  missing 
piece  for  films  with  budgets  of  up  to  $4,000,000. 

How  many  submissions  do  you  receive  annually? 
Out  of  those,  how  many  do  you  invest  in? 

In  1999  we  received  roughly  1,200  submissions. 
Of  those,  we  invested  money  in  only  four. 


What  types  of  projects  do  you  seek? 

For  both  producing  and  financing  projects,  the 
script  and  the  director  are  crucial.  Ultimately,  we 
are  looking  for  projects  that  have  the  potential  for 
theatrical  release.  At  our  budget  range,  that  usu- 
ally means  an  arthouse  or  niche  release.  Projects 
based  on  underlying  material  such  as  plays, 
books,  or  old  films  often  catch  our  attention. 

Are  there  any  restrictions  or  qualifications 
requirements? 

It  certainly  helps  if  the  producer  has  produced 
before,  but  it  is  not  essential.  The  key  is  that  their 
project  is  worthy. 

What  types  of  projects  would  Echo  Lake  defi- 
nitely not  fund? 

Documentaries,  animation,  porn.  Projects  with 
directors  who  have  not  yet  directed.  Z-grade 
genre  films  that  seem  destined  for  the  video  shelf 
rather  than  your  local  theater. 

Does  your  funding  cycle  include  hard  dead- 
lines or  can  producers  approach  you  year 
round? 

Year  round  is  fine. 

How  does  a  producer  submit  a  project  to  you? 

Because  we're  a  smaller  company,  we  need  to 
see  a  summary  first  in  order  to  determine  whether 
or  not  we  should  read  the  whole  script.  We  also 
need  to  learn  more  about  the  project's  attach- 
ments (director  and  cast)  and  the  budget  in  order 
to  determine  whether  we  should  consider  the  pro- 
ject for  production  or  financing.  Does  the  producer 
want  us  to  come  in  and  produce  the  project  (pro- 
duction) or  is  the  producer  looking  more  for  an 
executive  producer,  a  financier  (financing)?  Our 
investors  also  require  that  we  get  release  forms 
signed  by  the  writer,  even  for  summaries,  unless 
the  project  is  submitted  by  a  qualified  producer, 
agent,  or  attorney. 

Do  you  look  at  all  projects  first  as  possible 


46     THE    INDEPENDENT     January/February  2001 


investments  and  then  offer  loan  financing  to 
those  that  appeal  to  you  but  which  you  decid- 
ed not  to  invest  in? 

We  try  to  figure  out  right  away  whether  the  pro- 
ducer (or  whoever  is  submitting  the  project)  wants 
us  to  consider  the  project  for  our  production  side 
or  our  financing  side.  If  we  choose  not  to  produce 
a  project  submitted  to  the  production  side,  we 
may  evaluate  it  later  as  a  possible  loan. 

Who  is  in  charge  of  the  production  division? 
The  financing  division? 

While  I  oversee  both  divisions,  I  rely  on  the  input 
of  Peter  Wetherell  for  the  financing  side  and  Mark 
Dempsey  for  the  production  side. 

Tell  us  a  little  about  the  review  process. 

If  we  like  the  summary  or  the  pitch,  then  someone 
in  the  company  will  read  the  script.  If  there  are 
attachments,  then  we  run  numbers  to  decide 
whether  it  makes  sense  at  the  proposed  budget. 

What  are  the  financing  decisions  based  upon? 
Who  makes  these  decisions? 

Unlike  most  banks,  we  put  a  lot  of  consideration 
into  how  we  feel  about  the  story  and  about  the 
director.  We  try  to  imagine  what  kind  of  reviews  the 
film  will  garner.  Like  most  banks,  we  then  take  a 
hard  look  at  the  numbers — what  we  expect  the 
film  will  sell  for  in  the  various  territories.  We  also 
consider  who  is  involved  and  whether  we  can 
count  on  them. 

Echo  Lake's  loan  financing  division  offers 
three  types  of  loans:  bridge  loans,  gap  loans, 
and  completion  loans.  Briefly  define  these 
options. 

Bridge  loans  are  for  the  unfortunate  (but  not  rare) 
producer  who  has  lined  up  financing,  but  that  will 
not  flow  in  time  for  production  to  occur.  In  these 
situations,  Echo  Lake  provides  an  interim  or 
bridge  loan.  Gap  loans  are  loans  that  have  as  col- 
lateral unsold  territories.  For  example,  a  film  may 
have  pre-sales  to  Italy, 
German,  and  Spain  for 
amounts  totaling  half  the 
budget;  the  remaining 
half  is  the  gap.  Most 
banks  will  do  gap  loans 
of  up  to  20%  of  the  film's 
budget.  It  certain  cases, 
Echo  Lake  will  do  gap 
loans  that  are  higher 
than  this  amount.  Com- 
pletion loans  are  finish- 
ing funds  that  we  lend  to 
producers  who  are  at  the 
rough-cut  stage. 

What   are  the   basic 


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COMPLEMENT    OR     COMPLIMENT?     PEDDLE     OR     PEDAL? 


Januan  February  THE    INDEPENDENT      47 


Call  for  Entry 


"N 


Nashville  Independent 
Film  Festival 

Celebrate  Your  Independents 

PRESENTED    BY         t>FGAL 

cinemas'* 


JUNE  6-10,  2001 

•  Early  Deadline:  December  1 5th 

•  Official  Deadline:  February  28th  2001 

•  Entry  Fees:  $10.00-$50.00 

•  Over  $10,000  In  Cash  Prizes 

•  Workshops,  Parties,  Expo 

•  Academy  Award  "Qualifying  For 
Shorts  ft  Animations 

•  Academy  Award3  Consideration  Run  For 
Regal  Cinemas  NIFF  Dreammaker  Award 
Winning  Feature 


(615)742-2500  phone  (61  5)742-1004  fax 

www.nashvillefilmfestival.org 

niffilm@bellsouth.net 


umall  classes  &  tutorials 

in  D  I  G  I  T  A  L 

AUDIO.  VIDEO  &  INTERACTIVITY 

Interdisciplinary  Certificate  Program 

C    y    l    I    I    V   A    T    I    N    E        TALENT 

Harvestworks  Digital  Media  Arts 

[2I2]  43I-II30 

596  Broadway  Suite  602  inSoHo 

harvestw  @  dti.net/www.harvestworks.org 

*/            1-m^           V" 

Digital  Media  Arts  Center 

terms  of  these  loans? 

Fees  for  each  type  usually  run  15-20%. 
Depending  on  the  situation,  we  may  require  back- 
end  or  deferred  fees.  For  bridge  loans,  we  are  paid 
back  by  the  bank  providing  the  production  financ- 
ing. For  gap  loans,  we  are  usually  repaid  within  a 
year  or  18  months.  Finishing  funds  are  usually 
provided  on  a  last-in  first-out  basis,  meaning 
we're  the  first  to  be  repaid  once  the  film  is  picked 
up  by  a  distributor. 

Are  there  time  restrictions  within  which  the 
loaned  funds  must  be  used? 

Usually  the  funds  are  provided  directly  to  the  pro- 
duction and  are  used  immediately. 

Do  you  offer  your  loan-funded  filmmakers  any 
additional  support  (i.e.  leads  on  additional 
funding  sources,  production  equipment  assis- 
tance, help  in  finding  distribution,  etc.)  either 
in  the  production  or  distribution  phases? 
Absolutely.  We  try  to  provide  filmmakers  with 
"smart  money."  In  other  words,  they  get  the  ben- 
efit of  our  experience  and  contacts.  We  often  help 
find  sales  agents  and  distributors. 

If  a  project  is  rejected  in  the  development 
phase,  can  it  be  re-submited  later? 

Yes,  especially  if  we  liked  the  story.  Certainly  a 
project  can  change  and  become  more  attractive 
over  time:  a  new  director  or  actors  might  be 
attached,  the  budget  might  be  lowered,  etc.  We 
encourage  producers  to  stay  in  touch  with  us 
about  projects  that  have  stories  that  intrigued  us. 

Why  should  producers  turn  to  Echo  Lake  for 
loan  financing  as  opposed  to  a  bank? 

When  Echo  Lake  likes  the  story  and  director  of  a 
given  project,  it  can  be  more  aggressive  than  a 
bank,  which  means  it  can  provide  more  funds 
against  less  collateral.  Flexibility  and  speed  are 
attributes  that  banks  don't  often  have,  due  to  their 
committee  style  decision-making.  Finally,  banks 
don't  like  to  do  small  loans  (under  $1  million).  We 
don't  mind  as  long  as  the  project  is  worthy. 

What  distinguishes  Echo  Lake  from  other 


financing  companies? 

Our  interest  in  stories 
that  are  about  things 
that  matter.  Most  com- 
panies look  primarily  at 
the  bottom  line. 

For  those  emerging 
producers,  how  do  you 
recommend  they  learn 
more  about  their 
financing  options? 
We  will  talk  to  anyone 
who  has  a  quick  ques- 
tion or  two:  email  us  at  contact@echolakeprod 
uctions.com.  Your  project  does  not  have  to  be 
ready.  In  general,  producers  can  attend  seminars 
and  conferences  sponsored  by  AIVF,  the  IFR  and 
by  AFMA.  There  are  attorneys  that  specialize  in 
this  sort  of  financing  [Ed.  note:  AIVF  has  a  list  of 
entertainment  attorneys  in  our  library  and  at 
www.aivf.org.]  And  sales  agents  are  always 
searching  for  projects. 

What  advice  do  you  have  for  producers  in  sub- 
mitting their  cover  letter  and  synopsis  to  you? 

Don't  send  us  something  that  is  clearly  not  right 
for  us  (i.e.  a  $15  million  empty-headed  teen  sex 
comedy).  Be  as  specific  as  you  can  in  the  cover 
letter  regarding  your  position  and  who  you  have 
attached,  which  will  allow  us  to  make  a  decision 
on  the  project  as  quickly  and  as  efficiently  as  pos- 
sible. Good  summaries  are  a  truly  rare  thing. 
Since  Echo  Lake's  primary  concern  is  the  story, 
clearly  relaying  your  project's  storyline  to  us  is 
vitally  important. 

What  is  the  most  common  mistake  applicants 
make? 

Sending  us  a  project  that  is  clearly  not  for  us,  be 
it  the  wrong  sort  of  story  or  a  budget  that's  beyond 
our  means. 

What  would  people  most  be  surprised  to  learn 
about  Echo  Lake  and/or  its  founders? 

Our  office  is  above  a  bar  called  the  Firehouse  in 
Venice.  This  place  was  featured  in  the  film  Speed 
and  has  a  killer  five-egg  omelet  on  the  menu. 

Other  financing  companies  or  grantmaking 
organizations  you  admire  and  why. 

Good  Machine,  NewMarket  Capital  Group, 
Shooting  Gallery,  because  they  get  good  stuff 
made. 

Famous  last  words: 

Don't  give  up  on  us  if  we  pass  on  a  few  projects. 
We  are  in  this  for  the  long  haul. 

Michelle  Coe  is  program  director  at  AIVF. 


48    THE    INDEPENDENT    January/February  2001 


(  ■  =-*■  j-j  r^  t*  f-  •/*.    -  «■  ,  r^   i 


by  Scott  Castle 

listings  do  not  constitute  an  endorsement.  we 
recommend  that  you  contact  the  festival 
directly  before  sending  cassettes,  as  details 
may  change  after  the  magazine  goes  to  press, 
deadline:  1st  of  the  month  two  months  prior 
to  cover  date  (march  1  for  may  issue).  include 
festival  dates,  categories,  prizes,  entry  fees, 
deadlines,  formats  &  contact  info.  send  to: 
scott@aivf.org 

Domestic 

ARIZONA  INTERNATIONAL  FILM  FESTIVAL,  April  19-29, 
AZ.  Deadline:  Feb.  12. 10th  annual  premier  test  celebrates 
excellence  &  innovation  in  indie  film  &  video.  Cats  incl. 
narrative  features  &  shorts,  doc  features  &  shorts,  exper- 
imental, and  animation  shorts.  Awards:  Best  in  each  cat. 
Formats:  16mm,  35mm,  VHS,  3/4",  Beta  SP  &  digital 
video.  Preview  on  VHS.  Entry  fees:  $30  (under  45  min.); 
$50  (45  min.  &  over).  Contact  AIFF,  Box  431,  Tucson,  AZ 
85702;  Tel/fax:  (520)  628-1737;  azmac@azstarnet.com; 
www.azstarnet.com/~azmac 

ATHENS  INTERNATIONAL  FILM  AND  VIDEO  FESTIVAL, 

April  27-May  5,  OH.  Deadline:  Feb.  14.  28th  annual  test 
acknowledging  current  technical  possibilities  in  film/video 
production.  Each  entry  is  pre-screened  by  a  committee  of 
artists.  Works  w/  high  regard  for  artistic  innovation,  sen- 
sitivity to  content  &  personal  involvement  w/  the  medium 
are  welcomed.  Awards:  Cash  prizes  &  production  services 
awarded  to  competition  winners  in  each  category,  incl. 
narrative,  doc,  experimental  &  animation.  Formats: 
35mm,  16mm,  3/4",  VHS,  Beta,  Beta  SP  Preview  on  VHS 
(NTSC),  3/4"  16mm.  Preview  on  VHS.  Entry  fees:  $35, 
plus  s.a.s.e./insurance.  Contact:  AIFVF,  Athens  Center  for 
Film  &  Video,  Box  388,  Rm.  407, 75  W.  Union  St.,  Athens, 
OH  45701;  (740)  593-1330;  fax:  597-2560;  bradley@ 
ohiou.edu;  www.athensfest.org 

ATLANTA  FILM  &  VIDEO  FESTIVAL,  June  8-16,  GA. 
Deadline:  Feb.  2.  Fest,  celebrating  25th  anniversary, 
showcases  the  most  original  &  innovative  works  by 
today's  best  independent  media  makers  and  highlights 
past  works  from  previous  festivals.  Fest  incl.  premiere 
screenings  of  award-winning  works,  informative  semi- 
nars, educational  panel  discussions  &  guest  appear- 
ances film  &  video  professionals.  Cats:  Any  style  or 
genre.  Awards:  Over  $65,000  in  cash  &  equip,  rental. 
Formats:  35mm,  16mm,  3/4",  1/2",  S-8,  8mm,  Beta, 
Beta  SP.  Preview  on  VHS.  Entry  fees:  $40 
(individual/nonprofit);  $30  (IMAGE  members/students); 
$50  (distrib./for  profit);  add  $5  for  foreign.  Appl.  avail, 
on-line.  Contact:  AFVF,  Genevieve  McGillicuddy,  Fest 
Dir.,  IMAGE  Film/Video  Center,  75  Bennett  St.,  Ste.  Nl, 
Atlanta,  GA  30309;  (404)  352-4254;  fax:  352-0173; 
afvf@imagefv.org;  www.imagefv.org 

AVIGNON/NEW  YORK  FILM  FESTIVAL,  April  16-22,  NY. 
Deadline:  Feb.  23.  RECONTRES  CINEMATOGRAPHIQUES 
EURO-AMERICAINES,  June  26-July  1,  France.  Deadline: 
May  18. 7th  NYC  spring  fest  is  the  American  version  of  the 
18-year-old  Avignon  Film  Fest.  Both  events  feature  top 
line-up  of  U.S.  &  French  film  premieres,  retrospectives, 
VIP  encounters,  seminars  &  fetes.  Audience  vote  decides 
4  winners;  awards  total  $80,000  in  prizes  to  2  winning 


feature  directors  &  2  shorts  directors  in  NYC.  In  Avignon, 
3  winning  feature  directors  share  $80,000  in  prizes  w/ 
fest  accepting  films  from  other  European  filmmakers  for 
1st  time.  Any  style  or  genre.  Formats:  35mm  &  16mm. 
Preview  on  VHS  (NTSC,  PA1  or  SECAM).  Entry  fee:  $25. 
Contact:  ANYFF,  Jerome  Henry  Rudes,  General  Dir., 
French-American  Center,  Inc.,  198  Ave.  of  the  Americas, 
New  York,  NY  10013;  (212)  343-2675/011  33  490  25  93 
23;  fax:  343-1849/33  490  25  93  24;  jhr2001@aol.com; 
bettyswiss@aol.com;  www.francetelecomna.com; 
www.avignonfilmfest.com 

CALIFORNIA  SUN  INTERNATIONAL  ANIMATION  FESTI- 
VAL, March  23-24.  CA.  Deadline:  Feb.  10.  Animators 
worldwide  are  invited  to  submit  their  work.  All  forms  & 
styles  of  animation  shorts  are  accepted.  Awards:  selected 
by  panel  of  top  industry  pros;  "The  Golden  Sun"  (cash-best 
of  the  fest),  "The  Silver  Stars"  (for  each  cat)  &  "The  Bronze 
Planet"  (student  award).  Formats:  35mm,  16mm,  Beta, 
3/4",  1/2",  digital.  Preview  on  VHS.  Entry  fees:  $30  (inde- 
pendent short,  under  20  min.);  $50  (studio  short,  under  30 
min.);  $20  (student  project,  under  20  min.)  Contact:  CSIAF, 
Attn:  Jack  Reilly,  Dept.  of  Art  8300,  CA  State  Univ.,  18111 
Nordhoff  St.,  Northndge,  CA  91330;  (818)  382-4545;  am 
mate@csun.edu;  www.csun.edu/  animat 

CANYONLANDS  FILM  &  VIDEO  FESTIVAL  Nov.  1-4,  UT. 
Deadline:  Feb.  28.  Special  consideration  given  to  works 
presenting  thought-provoking  material,  any  genre  which 
offers  solutions,  ideas  &/or  hopeful  futures  based  on  pos- 
itive change  given  special  consideration.  Cats:  dramatic 
feature/short,  westerns,  doc  feature/short,  southwestern 
regional  issues,  outdoor  adventure,  avant-garde/experi- 
mental, student-produced,  comedy,  animation.  Awards: 
Cash  may  be  given  to  winners  in  any  category,  amounts 


University  of  North  Carolina  at  Greensboro.  Continuing 
goal  is  to  exhibit  works  of  ind.  artistry  &  personal  vision. 
This  year's  theme  "Virtual  Noir,"  inviting  artists  to  exam- 
ine the  darker  side  of  reality  &  move  beyond  conventional 
concepts  of  the  film  noir  genre.  Fest  accepts  work  in  all 
genres  &  cats,  incl.  animation,  doc,  exp.,  narrative  &  stu- 
dent short.  Projects  of  all  lengths  &  originating  on  all  for- 
mats accepted.  Awards  of  $3,000  in  cash  &  Kodak  film 
stock.  Formats:  16mm,  Beta  SP  VHS.  Preview  on  VHS 
(NTSC).  Entry  fees:  $30  (student);  $40.  Contact:  CFVF. 
Dahron  Johnson;  205  Brown  Building,  UNCG,  Greensboro, 
NC  27402;  (336)  334-4197;  fax:  334-5039;  cfvf@ 
uncg.edu;  www.uncg.edu/bcn/cfvf 

CHARGED  60  SECOND  FILM  FESTIVAL,  April  16, 
Deadline:  April  1.  Fest  is  dedicated  to  films  &  videos  one 
minute  &  under,  any  genre  accepted  as  long  as  they're 
clever,  funny,  or  weird.  Especially  interested  in  animation. 
Films  accepted  will  be  screened  on  [www.charged.com]  3 
weeks  before  the  fest  screening.  Awards:  Cash  prizes 
awarded  in  three  cats:  1)  Grand  Jury,  2)  Audience,  3) 
Spirit  of  Charged.  Formats:  Beta  SP  VHS.  Preview  on  VHS 
[NTSC].  No  entry  fee.  Download  entry  form  on  web  site,  or 
contact:  Charged  60  Sec.  FF,  Daniel  Falcone,  350  3rd  Ave., 
Ste.  362,  New  York,  NY  10010;  (212)  481-6605  x.  225; 
fax:  481-5450;  dfalcone@charged.com;  www.60sff.com 

CINE  LAS  AMERICAS,  April  12-19,  TX.  Deadlines:  Feb.  15; 
Feb.  28  (late).  Fest  showcases  contemporary  film  from 
diverse  latin  cultures  such  as  S.  America,  the  Caribbean 
&  the  U.S.  Any  works  by  Latino  filmmaker,  writers,  pro- 
ducers &  actors  depicting  Latino  subject  matter  accepted. 
Works  will  be  accepted  in  any  languge;  for  works  not  in 
English  subtitles  are  recommended.  Formats:  16mm, 
35mm,  VHS.  Preview  on  VHS.  Entry  fee:  $10;  $30  (late). 


m   m.: 


CAROLINA  PANTHEON 

Celebrating  its  11th  anniversary,  The 
Carolina  Film  &  Video  Festival 

touts  itself  as  the  "largest,  oldest, 
and  most  prestigious  international 
film  festival  in  the  Southeastern  U.S."  The  theme  of  this  year's  fest  is  "Virtual 
Noir,"  and  the  festival  is  seeking  films  which  explore  the  dark  and  haunting  visual 
style  with  narratives  of  desperation  and  entrapment.  Historically,  such  films  have 
forcefully  influenced  independent  and  commercial  filmmakers  since  the  debut  of 
the  film  noir  genre  after  the  Second  World  War.  This  year's  fest  has  also  expanded 
its  call  for  entries  to  high  school  students.  Its  continuing  goal  is  to  exhibit  works  of 
independent  artistry  and  personal  vision  to  a  local  audience.  See  listing. 


determined  by  ticket  sales  &  fund-raising  work;  Non-cash 
awards  may  be  given.  Formats:  35mm,  16mm,  3/4",  1/2". 
Preview  on  VHS.  Entry  fees:  $30  (35mm);  $25  (other  for- 
mats); $20  (student).  Contact:  CFVF,  Nicholas  Brown,  59 
S.  Main  St.  Ste.  #214,  Moab,  UT  84532;  (435)  259-9868; 
canyonfilm@hotmail.com;  www.moab-utah.com/film/ 
video/festival. html 

CAROLINA  FILM  AND  VIDEO  FESTIVAL.  March  14-17, 
NC.  Deadline:  Jan.  31.  11th  annual  fest  held  at  the 


Contact:  Cine  Las  Americas,  2215  Post  Rd..  Ste.  2056. 
Austin,  TX  78704. 

CLEARWATER  INTERNATIONAL  FILM  FESTIVAL,  March 
23-29,  FL.  Deadline:  Feb.  23.  Fest  is  seeking  feature 
length,  shorts  &  docs  and  accepting  films  that  educate, 
entertain  &  enlighten  for  various  cats:  children/family, 
action  adventure,  drama,  comedy,  mystery/suspense,  sci- 
fi/fantasy  &  foreign  (subtitled  or  in  English).  Formats: 
16mm,  DVD.  35mm,  VHS.  Preview  on  VHS.  Entry  fees:  $25 


January/February    AVI    THE    INDEPENDENT      49 


(shorts);  $35  (docs);  $50  (features).  Contact:  CIFF,  411 
Cleveland  St.  #262,  Clearwater,  FL  33755;  (727)  442- 
3317;  fax:  443-6753; ;  www.clearwaterfilmfestival.com 

FLORIDA  FILM  FESTIVAL,  June  8-17,  FL.  Deadline:  Feb. 
23  (early);  March  23  (late).  10th  anniversary  of  this  10- 
day  event  featuring  foreign  &  U.S.  indie  films  (narrative, 
experimental,  animation),  seminars,  midnight  movies, 
Florida  student  competition,  celebrations  &  special 
guests.  Cats:  feature,  short,  doc.  Awards  incl.  Special  Jury 
Awards,  Audience  Award,  Cinematography  Award  &  Grand 
Jury  Awards.  Entries  for  competition  must  have  at  least 
51%  U.S.  funding.  Features  must  be  50  mm.  or  more.  Fest 
also  sponsors  several  curated  sidebars,  special  events, 
seminars  &  receptions.  Formats:  35mm,  16mm,  3/4", 
1/2".  Preview  on  VHS.  Entry  fees:  $15-30.  Contact:  FFF, 
Matthew  Curtis,  Program  Dir.,  Enzian  Theatre,  1300  S. 
Orlando  Ave.,  Maitland,  FL  32571;  (407)  629-1088;  fax: 
(407)  629-6870;  filmfest@enzian.org;  www.enzian.org 

IRISH  REELS  FILM  AND  VIDEO  FESTIVAL,  March  6-11, 
WA.  Deadline:  Jan.  12. 4th  annual  fest  is  devoted  to  show- 
ing the  very  best  in  contempory  Irish  filmmaking  &  contin- 
ues to  feature  independently  produced  works  of  &  about 
Ireland  w/  particular  focus  on  productions  depicting  cur- 
rent social  issues  in  Ireland.  Fest  accepts  features,  docs, 
shorts  &  animation.  Films  must  have  been  written,  direct- 
ed or  produced  by  an  Irish  filmmaker  working  in  Ireland  or 
abroad.  Formats:  35mm,  16mm,  Beta,  DVD.  Preview  on 
VHS  (NTSC  or  PAL).  Entry  fees:  IRFVF,  911  Media  Arts 
Center,  117  Yale  Ave,  N.,  Seattle,  WA  98107;  (206)  682- 
6552  x.  13;  fidelma@911media.org;  www.911media.org/ 
events/irishreels/ 

MAKING  WAVES  FESTIVAL,  May  4-6,  NY.  Deadline:  Feb. 
15.  3rd  annual  fest  seeks  submissions  from  student 
makers  of  film,  video  &  new  media  that  reflect  the 
vision,  energy  &  diversity  of  the  current  student  genera- 
tion. Cats:  narrative,  doc  &  experimental  work  accepted. 
Awards:  Ten  student  winners  will  each  receive:  $1,000, 
round  trip  to  NYC  &  2-night/3-day  hotel  stay.  Pieces 
must  be  under  60  min.  &  produced  or  directed  by  a  stu- 
dent enrolled  in  an  accredited  program  of  study. 
Formats:  16mm,  VHS,  3/4",  Beta,  CD-ROM,  URL. 
Preview  on  VHS,  floppy  disks,  Zip  disks,  CD-ROM,  URL. 
Entry  fee:  $10  (payable  to:  Hunter  College  Nat'l  Student 
Fest).  Contact:  MWF,  Hunter  College,  Dept.  of  Film  & 
Media  Studies,  Peggy  Dale,  Fest  Dir.,  695  Park  Ave.,  Rm. 
433N,  New  York,  NY  10021;  (212)  772-4846; 
lnfo@makingwavesfestival.com;  www.makingwaves 
festival.com 

MIAMI  GAY  AND  LESBIAN  FILM  FESTIVAL,  April  27-May 
6,  FL.  Deadline:  Jan.  12.  3rd  annual  fest  is  looking  for 
work  of  all  genres,  lengths  &  formats  incl.  dramatic,  doc  & 
experimental  works,  by,  about  &/or  of  interest  to  lesbian, 
gay,  bisexual  &  transgendered  communities.  Last  year's 
fest  drew  audiences  of  over  7,000,  w/ films  screened  from 
around  the  world.  Works  must  be  Miami  premieres; 
awards  given  in  numerous  categories.  Formats:  16mm  & 
35mm.  Preview  on  VHS.  Entry  fee:  $35.  Contact:  MGLFF, 
1521  Alton  Rd.,  #147,  Miami  Beach,  FL  33139;  (305) 
534-9924;  fax:  535-2377;  festivalinfo@the-beach.net; 
www.miamigaylesbianfilm.com 

MINNEAPOLIS/ST.  PAUL  INTERNATIONAL  FILM  FESTI- 
VAL. April  6-21,  MN.  Deadline:  Feb.  1. 19th  annual  fest  is 
the  largest  film  event  in  the  Upper  Midwest,  bringing  in 


more  foreign  &  American  ind.  films  to  MN  than  any  other 
film  org.  or  event.  Program  is  predominantly  foreign, 
focusing  on  Scandinavian  &  Eastern  Europe  films,  espe- 
cially those  w/  politically  relevant  themes.  Emerging 
filmmakers  section  is  showcase  for  self-distributed, 
ind.  filmmakers;  entries  are  selected  by  a  jury  in  cats: 
short  fiction,  short  doc,  feature  doc  &  feature  doc. 
Awards:  Emerging  Filmmaker  awards  &  Audience  "Best 
of  the  Fest"  Awards.  Formats:  35mm,  16mm,  VHS. 
Preview  on  VHS.  Entry  fee:  $35  (shorts,  under  40  min.); 
$50  (features).  Contact:  MSPIFF,  Univ.  Film  Society, 
2331  Univ.  Ave.  SE,  Ste.  130B,  Minneapolis,  MN  55414; 
(612)  627-4431;  fax:  627-4111;  filmsoc@tc.umn.edu; 
www.ufilm.org 

NEW  YORK  VIDEO  FESTIVAL.  July,  NY  Deadline:  March. 
10th  annual  int'l  electronic  arts  fest  presented  in  associ- 
ation w/  Lincoln  Center  Festival  2000.  All  genres  &  plat- 
forms of  any  length  will  be  considered:  video  art,  doc, 
computer  animation,  interactive  (CD-ROM,  etc.).  All 
videos  chosen  will  be  projected  in  the  Film  Society's 
Walter  Reade  Theater  at  Lincoln  Center.  There  are  no  cat- 
egories or  awards.  All  work  must  be  originally  produced 
and/or  postproduced  in  video/computer.  Average  of  40 
works  presented  in  14  programs;  coverage  in  NY  Times  & 
Village  Voice,  as  well  as  out-of-town  &  int'l  coverage. 
Submitted  works  should  be  recent  (w/in  past  two  years); 
NY  premieres  preferred.  Formats:  1/2",  3/4",  Beta  SP  CD- 
ROM,  digital.  Preview  on  3/4",  1/2"  (NTSC,  PAL),  CD-ROM 
(for  PC).  Do  not  submit  preview  in  Beta.  Do  not  send  mas- 
ters; tapes  not  returned.  Entry  form  can  be  printed  from 
web  site.  No  entry  fee.  Contact:  NYVF,  Film  Society  of 
Lincoln  Center,  70  Lincoln  Center  Plaza,  New  York,  NY 
10023;  (212)  875-5638;  fax:  875-5636;  sbensman@ 
filmlinc.com;  www.filmlinc.com 

NOT  STILL  ART  FESTIVAL,  April,  NY.  Deadline:  Feb.  1.  6th 
annual  fest  invites  media  artists  working  in  abstract  & 
non-narrative  electronic  motion  imaging,  in  conjunction 
w/  music/sound  design,  to  submit  programs  under  10 
min.  in  length.  Fest  is  interested  in  work  made  w/  all 
technologies,  the  primary  criterion  being  the  aesthetic  of 
the  electronic  screen.  Screenings  will  tour  &  be  broad- 
cast. Formats  &  preview:  3/4",  Hi-8,  S-VHS.  Entry  fee: 
$25.  Contact:  NSAF,  Box  496,  Cherry  Valley,  NY  13320; 
fax:  (607)  264-3476;  NotStillArt@improvart.com; 
www.improvart.com/nsa/ 

SAN  FRANCISCO  INTERNATIONAL  LESBIAN  &  GAY  FILM 
FESTIVAL.  June  14-24,  CA.  Deadlines:  Jan.  24;  Feb.  7 
(late).  One  of  world's  largest,  with  an  audience  of  75,000, 
and  oldest  events  of  its  kind,  fest  is  celebrating  it's  25th 
anniversary.  Many  works  premiered  in  fest  go  on  to  be 
programmed  or  distributed  nat'lly  &  int'lly.  Rough-cuts 
accepted  for  preview  if  submitted  on  1/2".  Entries  must 
be  SF  Bay  Area  premieres.  Awards:  Frameline  Award, 
Audience  Award.  Dockers  Khakis  1st  Feature  Award 
($10,000).  Fest  produced  by  Frameline,  nonprofit  arts 
organization  dedicated  to  lesbian  &  gay  media  arts. 
Formats:  35mm,  16mm,  Beta,  1/2".  Entry  fees:  $20;  $35 
(late).  Contact:  SFILGFF.  Jennifer  Morris,  Co-Director. 
Frameline,  346  9th  St.,  San  Francisco,  CA  94103;  (415) 
703-8650;  fax:  861-1404;  info@frameline.org; 
www.frameline.org 

SEATTLE  INTERNATIONAL  FILM  FESTIVAL,  May  24-June 
17,  WA.  Deadline:  March  1.  Founded  in  1974,  SIFF  is  the 
largest  film  festival  in  the  U.S.,  presenting  more  than  200 


features  &  80+  shorts  to  an  audience  of  over  140.000 
filmgoers  each  year.  Fest  is  one  of  five  N.  American  film 
tests  in  which  presentation  will  qualify  a  film  w/out  distri- 
bution for  submission  to  the  Independent  Spirit  Awards. 
Fest  hosts  a  competition  for  Best  American  Ind.  Film,  Best 
New  Director  (Int'l)  &  Best  Short  Film  in  addition  to  the 
audience-based  Golden  Space  Needle  Awards  given  in 
cats  of  feature  film,  director,  actress,  actor,  doc  &  shorts. 
Formats:  16mm,  35mm  &  Beta.  Preview  on  VHS.  Entry 
fees:  $25  (20  min.  or  less);  $35  (21  min.  to  49  min.);  $50 
(50  min.  or  more).  Contact:  SIFF,  Cinema  Seattle,  911  Pine 
St.,  Ste.  607,  Seattle,  WA  98101;  (206)  464-5830;  fax: 
264-7919;  info@seattlefilm.com;  www.seattlefilm.com 

SHORT  ATTENTION  SPAN  FILM  FESTIVAL,  April  &  travel- 
ing. Deadline:  Feb.  15.  9th  annual  touring  fest  seeks  short 
shorts  (2  min.  or  less)  for  spring  2001  showcase  traveling 
to  15+  venues  throughout  the  U.S.  &  Canada.  Cats: 
entries  accepted  in  all  non-commercial  categories:  narra- 
tive, experimental,  animation,  etc.  Awards:  Cash  Prizes; 
Best  of  Show  ($2,500),  Best  Animation  ($1,000),  Audience 
Choice  ($1,000).  Formats  preview:  VHS.  Incl.  press  mate- 
rials &  s.a.s.e.  w/  entries.  No  entry  fee.  Contact:  SASFVF 
c/o  Dreamspan,  Entry  Coordinator,  1615  Montana  Ave., 
Santa  Monica,  CA  90403;  (310)  260-1551;  fax:  260-1533; 
beth@dreamspan.com;  www.shortspan.com 

USA  FILM  FESTIVAL,  April  26-May  3,  TX.  Deadlines:  Feb. 
28  (features,  60+  min.);  March  2  (shorts,  under  60  min.). 
31st  annual  fest  has  3  major  sections:  noncompetitive  fea- 
ture section;  Nat'l  Short  Film  &  Video  Competition  & 
KidFilm.  Feature  section  incl.  premieres  of  new  films,  new 
works  from  ind.  &  emerging  filmmakers.  Short  film  &  video 
competition  showcases  new  &  significant  U.S.  work. 
Awards  incl.  $1,000  prizes  for  narrative,  nonfiction,  anima- 
tion &  exp.  plus  $250  Jury  Awards.  Formats:  35mm,  16mm, 
3/4",  1/2".  Preview  on  VHS.  No  entry  fee.  Contact:  USAFR 
Alonso  Duralde,  2917  Swiss  Ave.,  Dallas,  TX  75204;  (214) 
821-3456;  fax:  821-6364;  www.usafilmfestival.com 

XICANINDIE  FILM  FESTIVAL,  April  6-8,  CO.  Deadline:  Feb. 
16  (postmark).  3rd  annual  fest  offers  an  open  call  to  all 
independent  Chicano/Latino  media  artists  whose  work 
brazenly  challenges  the  dominant  Hollywood  paradigm  in 
terms  of  content  &  execution.  Criteria  for  selection  are 
originality  &  resourcefulness.  Cats:  animation,  doc,  exper- 
imental &  narrative  (feature  or  short).  Prizes  awarded. 
Formats:  35mm,  16mm,  video.  Preview  on  VHS.  Entry  fee: 
$5,  incl.  s.a.s.e.  for  tape  return.  Contact:  XFF,  Daniel 
Salazar,  El  Centra  Su  Teatro,  4725  High  St.,  Denver,  CO 
80216;  (303)  296-0219;  elcentro@suteatro.org; 
www.suteatro.org 

Foreign 

BANFF  TELEVISION  FESTIVAL,  June  10-15,  Canada. 
Deadline:  Feb.  19.  Fest  blends  two  components:  a  confer- 
ence for  industry  pros  w/  important  resource  people  &  an 
informal  environment  in  which  to  develop  business  rela- 
tionships &  an  int'l  program  competition  which  awards 
the  coveted  Banff  Rockie  Awards  in  14  categories:  anima- 
tion programs;  arts  docs;  children's  programs;  comedies; 
continuing  series;  history  &  biography  programs:  info  pro- 
grams; made-for-TV-movies;  mini-series:  performance 
programs;  popular  science  &  natural  history;  short  dra- 
mas; social  &  political  docs;  sports  programs.  Entries 
originally  in  English  or  French  must  have  their  TV  premiere 
after  March  of  the  preceding  yr.  There  are  also  "on 


50     THE    INDEPENDENT     January/February  2001 


demand"  screening  facilities  for  all  TV  programs  invited 
or  submitted  to  the  test,  in  or  out  of  competition. 
Producers  of  programs  judged  best  in  the  14  cats  will 
receive  a  "Rockie"  Award  sculpture.  Other  prizes  include: 
Global  TV  Grand  Prize,  $50,000  cash  prize  for  program 
judged  best  of  the  2001  Competition;  NHK  President's 
Prize,  $25,000  cash  prize  for  the  best  entry  in  the  com- 
petition shot  or  postproduced  on  HDTV;  Telefilm  Canada 
Prizes,  two  $20,000  awards  for  the  Best  Independent 
Canadian  Prod'n  in  English  &  in  French.  All  official 
entries  should  be  in  the  NTSC  standard  &  will  be  accept- 
ed on  Betacam  &  Betacam  SR  For  pre-selection  screen- 
ings, entries  will  be  accepted  in  VHS  (PAL,  low  band  only) 
but  Betacam  NTSC  replacements  will  be  req.  for  those 
entries  selected  as  nominees.  Entry  fee:  $250  (payable 
in  U.S.  or  Canadian  dollars);  $100  (original  content  cre- 
ated for  web-casting,  w/  no  prior  or  simultaneous 
appearance  in  another  medium).  Contact:  Banff  TV 
Festival,  1516  Railway  Ave.,  Canmore,  Alberta,  Canada, 
T1W  1P6;  (403)  678-9265;  fax:  678-9269;  info@ 
banfftvfest.com;  www.banff2001.com 

CANNES  INTERNATIONAL  FILM  FESTIVAL,  May  9-20, 
France.  Deadline:  April  1.  Largest  int'l  film  test,  attended 
by  over  30,000  professionals,  stars,  directors,  distribu- 
tors, buyers  &  journalists.  Round-the-clock  screenings, 
parties,  ceremonies,  press  conferences  &  one  of  world's 
largest  film  markets.  Selection  committee,  appointed  by 
Administration  Board,  chooses  entries  for  Official 
Competition  (about  20  films)  &  Un  Certain  Regard  section 
(about  20  films).  Films  must  have  been  made  w/in  prior 
12  mo.,  released  only  in  country  of  origin  &  not  entered  in 
other  fests.  Official  component  consists  of:  1)  In 
Competition,  for  features  &  shorts  competing  for  major 
awards;  2)  special  Out  of  Competition  accepts  features 
ineligible  for  competition  (e.g.  by  previous  winners  of 
Palme  d'Or);  3)  Un  Certain  Regard,  noncompetitive  section 
for  films  of  int'l  quality  that  do  not  qualify  for  competition, 
films  by  new  directors,  etc;  4)  Cinefondation,  new  compe- 
tition (since  '98)  to  present  &  promote  short  &  medium- 
length  fiction  or  animation  films,  final  year  student  films  or 
first  productions  thatshow  artistic  qualities  that  deserve  to 
be  encouraged.  Film  market  administered  separately, 
screens  film  in  main  venue  &  local  theater.  Parallel  sec- 
tions incl.  Quinzaine  des  Realisateurs  (Director's 
Fortnight,  call  NaRhee  Ahn  at  Independent  Feature  Project 
for  guidelines  &  application.  (212)  465-8200,  fax:  465- 
8525;  nahn@ifp.org),  main  sidebar  for  new  talent, 
(deadline  mid  April);  La  Semaine  de  la  Critique  (Int'l 
Critic's  Week),  1st  or  2nd  features  &  docs  chosen  by 
French  Film  Critics  Union  (selections  must  be  completed 
w/in  12  mos  prior  to  test).  Top  prizes  incl.  Official 
Competition's  Palme  d'Or  (feature  &  short),  Camera  d'Or 
(best  first  film  in  any  section)  &  Cinefondation  (best  final 
year  student  film).  Formats  and  preview:  35mm,  16mm, 
VHS  (NTSC,  Pal,  Secam),  Beta  (PAL).  No  entry  fee,  screen- 
ing fees  may  be  incured.  Contact:  Cannes  Int'l  Film 
Festival,  99  Boulevard  Malesherbes,  75008  Paris,  France; 
011  33  1  45  61  66  07;  fax:  33  1  45  61  45  88;  RDF@fes- 
tival-cannes.fr;  www.festival-cannes.fr;  Cannes  Film 
Market,  contact:  Jerome  Paillard,  99  Blvd.  Malesherbes, 
75008  Paris,  France;  011  33  1  45  61  66  09,  fax:  33  1  45 
61  97  59.  Add'l  info:  Quinzaine  des  Realisateurs,  Societe 
des  Realisateurs  de  Films,  14  Rue  Alexandre  Parodi, 
75010  Paris,  France;  011  33  1  44  89  99  99,  fax:  33  1  44 
89  99  60.  Semaine  Internationale  de  la  Critique,  attn:  Eva 


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May  3-6,  2001 

Durham,  North  Carolina 


www.ddff.org    919  660  3699 


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jackson  ms  april  5-8  2001 


po  box  22604  jackson,  ms  39225 
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■  i-iez: 

CHICAI 


FILM   FESTIVAL 


lanuary/February  2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      51 


2001  Arizona  International  Film  Festival  -  April  19-29 


Box  431, 

Tucson,  AZ  85702 

Tel/FAX: 

520.628.1737 

www.azstarnet.com/-azmac 


Deadline: 
February  12,  2001 


■D 


pril  1, 2001 


Si:  US  '      :■**■  M  C,  _  -  W  L-  L^ 


iuol 


big  muddy  film 


call  for. entries 
deadline:  fanuary  15,  2001 


618.453.1482 

fax:  ;.618.45.3.2264 

wvyw.bigmuddyfilm.com 


southern  illinois  university 

dept.  of  cinema  '"end  photography 

carbondale,  il  62901-6610 


Roelens,  73  Rue  de  Lourmel,  75015  Paris,  France;  tel: 
Oil  33  145  75  68  27;  fax:  33  140  59  03  99 

CINEMATECA  URUGUAYA,  April  7-22,  Uruguay.  Deadline: 
Feb.  15.  19th  annual  fest  devoted  to  short  &  feature- 
length,  doc,  fiction,  experimental,  Latin  American  &  int'l 
films,  w/  purpose  of  promoting  film  quality  &  human  & 
conceptual  values.  Ind.  fest  aims  at  being  frame  for 
meetings  &  discussions  of  regional  projects  &  of  mutual 
interest.  Fest  has  4  sections:  Int'l  Full  Length  Film  Show; 
Int'l  Doc  &  Experimental  Film  Show;  Info  Show;  Espacio 
Uruguay.  Films  should  be  subtitled,  have  Spanish  version, 
or  have  a  list  of  texts  or  dialogues  translated  into  Spanish 
or  in  English,  French  or  Portuguese  for  us  to  translate. 
Films  wishing  to  compete  should  have  been  finished  after 
Jan.  1,  1999.  Formats:  16mm,  35mm,  VHS  (PAL  or 
NTSC),  U-Matic  PAL.  Preview  on  VHS.  Contact:  CU, 
Lorenzo  Camelli,  1311  (11200)  Montevideo,  Montevideo, 
Uruguay;  fax:  Oil  598  2  409  4572;  cinemuy® 
chasque.apc.org;  www.cinemateca.org.uy 

HAMBURG  INTERNATIONAL  SHORT  FILM  FESTIVAL, 

June  13-18,  Germany.  Deadlines:  March  1  (Int'l  Short 
Film  Competition  &  No  Budget  Competition);  April  1  (3- 
min.  Quickie).  16th  annual  fest  is  a  forum  for  presenting 
diversity  of  int'l  short  films  &  a  meeting  place  for  film- 
makers from  home  &  abroad.  Awards:  Hamburg  Short 
Film  Award  (main  award),  No  Budget  Award  (jury  award), 
Francois  Ode  Award  (jury  award),  Audience  Awards  (each 
cat).  Theme  of  2000  3-min.  Quickie  is  "neighbors." 
Length:  under  20  min.  (exceptions  possible);  except  3- 
min.  Quickie.  Formats:  35mm,  16mm,  super  8,  Betacam, 
U-Matic,  VHS  &  S-VHS.  Previews  on  VHS.  If  previews  are 
not  in  German  or  English,  please  enclose  text  list.  VHS  not 
returned.  Contact:  HISFF,  KurzFilmAgentur  Hamburg  e.V, 
IHSFF,  Friedensaliee  7,  D-22765,  Hamburg,  Germany; 
Oil  49  40  39  10  63  23;  fax:  49  40  39  10  63  20; 
kfa@shortfilm.com;  www.shortfilm.com 

LAON  INTERNATIONAL  FILM  FESTIVAL  FOR  YOUNG 
PEOPLE,  April  3-13,  France.  Deadline:  Feb.  1.  Oldest 
French  fest  for  youth,  attracting  more  than  30,000  spec- 
tators &  well  known  by  French  distribs.  Awards:  Prize  of 
Laon  is  30,000  FF  (approx.  $4,625)  to  the  French  distrib. 
Looking  for  high  quality  feature  films  likely  to  be  of  inter- 
est to  children  or  young  adults  (fiction  or  animation). 
Formats:  35mm,  16mm.  Preview  on  VHS.  No  entry  fee. 
Contact:  LIFFYR  Florence  Dupont,  9  Rue  du  Bourg,  B.R 
526,  02001  Laon  Cedex,  France;  Oil  33  3  23  79  39 
37/33  3  23  79  39  26;  fax:  33  3  23  79  39  32;  festival.cin- 
ema.laon@wanadoo.fr;  www.laonfilmfest.com 

MELBOURNE  INTERNATIONAL  FILM  FESTIVAL,  July  18- 
Aug.  5.  Deadlines:  March  2  (shorts);  April  6  (features). 
FIAPF-recognized  fest  celebrates  50th  anniv.  as  one  of 
Australia's  largest  &  its  oldest  tests.  Eclectic  mix  of  indie 
work,  w/  special  interest  in  feature  docs  &  shorts. 
Substantial  program  of  new  Aussie  cinema.  Int'l  short 
film  competition  features  cash  prizes  in  7  cats:  Grand 
Prix  City  of  Melbourne  Award  for  Best  Film  ($5,000)  & 
$2,000  for  best  of  in  each  cat:  Australian,  experimental, 
animated,  doc  &  fiction.  Open  to  films  of  all  kinds,  except 
training  &  ads.  Films  30  min.  or  less  eligible  for  Int'l 
Short  Film  Competition;  films  over  60  min.  eligible  for 
noncompetitive  feature  program.  Video  productions  con- 
sidered for  "out-of-competition"  screenings.  Entries 
must  have  been  completed  w/in  previous  yr.  &  not 
screened  in  Melbourne  or  broadcast  on  Aussie  TV. 


52     THE    INDEPENDENT     January/February  2001 


Formats:  35mm,  16mm,  3/4",  1/2".  Preview  on  VHS. 
Entry  tee:  $40.  Contact:  MIFF,  James  Hewison,  Exec.  Dir., 
207  Johnston  St.,  Box  2206,  Fitzroy  3065,  Australia;  Oil 
61  3  417  2011;  fax:  61  3  417  3804;  miff® 
netspace.net.au;  www.melbournefilmfestival.com.au 

MONTREAL  JEWISH  FILM  FESTIVAL,  May  3-10,  Canada. 
Deadline:  Feb  15.  6th  annual  test  showcases  Jewish 
films  from  around  the  world.  Cats:  feature,  doc,  short, 
animation.  Formats:  35mm,  16mm,  Beta-SR  VHS  (Beta 
SP).  No  entry  fee.  Contact:  MJFF,  Susan  Alper,  Director, 
352  Emery  St.  5th  fl.,  Montreal,  Quebec,  Canada  H2X 1J1; 
(514)  987-9795;  fax:  987-9736;  festival®  mjff.qc.ca; 
www.mjff.qc.ca 

PESARO  FILM  FESTIVAL,  June  22-30,  Italy.  Deadline: 
March  31.  37th  annual  test's  "New  Cinema"  program 
incl.  features,  shorts,  fiction,  nonfiction,  experimental  & 
animation.  Production  req.  Italian  premiere,  completion 
after  Jan.  1,2000.  If  not  English  or  French  spoken  or  sub- 
titled, enclose  dialogue  list  in  either  language.  Formats: 
35mm,  16mm,  U-matic,  Betacam.  Preview  on  VHS.  No 
entry  fee.  Contact:  PFF,  Fondazione  Pesaro  Nuovo 
Cinema,  Via  Villafranca  20,  00185,  Rome,  Italy;  Oil  39 
06  445  66  43/49  11  56;  fax:  39  06  49  1 1  63;  pesaro  film 
fest@mclink.it;  www.pesarofilmfest.it 

SUNNY  SIDE  OF  THE  DOC  MARKET,  June  20-23,  France. 
Deadline:  early  March.  12th  annual  market  brings  togeth- 
er ind.  producers,  distributors,  commissioning  editors, 
heads  of  TV  programming  depts  &  buyers  from  all  over 
the  world.  Attended  last  year  by  some  539  companies 
from  35  countries,  182  buyers  &  commissioning  editors  & 
120  TV  channels.  Market  provides  opportunities  for  pro- 
ject development  &  meeting  partners  w/  Side-by-Side 
sessions  (one-on-one  meetings  w/  commissioning  edi- 
tors for  advice  on  projects).  Contact:  SSD,  23  rue  Frangois 
Simon,  13003  Marseille,  France;  Oil  33  4  95  04  44  80; 
fax:  33  4  91  84  38  34;  sunnyside@wanadoo.fr 

TORONTO  JEWISH  FILM  FESTIVAL,  April  26-May  3, 
Canada.  Deadline:  Feb.  15.  Now  in  its  9th  year,  event  is 
the  2nd  largest  Jewish  film  fest  in  N.  America.  Fest  is 
devoted  to  chronicling  the  diversity  of  Jewish  life  &  expe- 
riences from  around  the  world.  Well-supported  by  the 
Toronto  Jewish  community,  fest  had  attendance  of 
15,000  last  year.  Cats:  feature,  doc,  short.  Formats: 
35mm,  16mm,  Beta  SR  VHS  (Secam,  PAL).  No  entry  fee. 
Contact:  TJFF,  Shlomo  Schwartzberg,  Dir.  of 
Programming,  17  Madison  Ave.,  Toronto,  Ontario, 
Canada  M5R  2S2;  (416)  324-8226;  fax:  324-8668; 
tjff@interlog.com;  www.tjff.com 

TURIN  INTERNATIONAL  FESTIVAL  OF  LESBIAN  AND  GAY 
FILMS,  April  19-25.  Italy.  Deadline:  Jan.  31.  Now  in  16th 
year,  one  of  longest-running  int'l  gay  &  lesbian  events. 
Entries  should  be  by  lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender 
filmmakers  or  address  related  themes  &  issues.  About 
170  titles.  Competition  section  divided  between  3  juries: 
doc,  long  feature  &  short  feature.  Panorama  section  fea- 
tures new  int'l  productions.  Award  named  after  late  fest 
co-founder,  Ottavio  Mai,  presented  to  best  screenplay  for 
short.  Cats:  doc,  feature,  short..  Formats:  3/4",  1/2", 
35mm,  16mm.  Preview  on  VHS.  No  entry  fee.  Contact: 
TIFLGF,  Angelo  Acerbi,  Head  programmer,  Piazza  San 
Carlo  161,  10123  Torino,  Italy;  Oil  390  11  534  888;  fax: 
390  11  535  796;  glfilmfest@assioma.com;  www.tur 
inglfilmfestival.com 


May  2  ->  3  -2001 


Canadian  !nternational|Documentary  Festival 


Toronto  Documentary  Forf 


III! 


the  2nd  dynamic  edition  of  North  America's  most  productive 

meeting  of  international  documentary  commissioning  editors,  program  executives  and  producers 

working  in  the  social,  cultural  and  political  genres  ...  based  on  the  prestigious  FORUM  in  Amsterdam 


;bmary  1 6  «"  2001  entry  UtAlMJNi:  for  pitch  slots 
March  23  *  2001  DEADLINE  for  observer  seats 

m»  5Q+  international  commissioning  editors 

ms!f3&  pitch  slots 

z  aays  www.hotdocs.ca 

<m  «*»  m,  w»  m,  <m  m*  <m  <m>  «te  DETAlLS  416.203.2155 

prII30-> May 6-2001  hot  docs  festival 

December  1 4  r  2000  DEADLINE  for  film  submissions 

PEA]  URfNll  '48Si*  80+  documentaries  from  around  the  world 
mi"  spotlight  on  the  Nordic  countries 
«a»  infjustry  symposium  and  more... 


11  Call  for  Entries 


FILTVl    FF_S"TI\//KI_ 

\\\\  Annul  Film  /Vide  o  Festival 

Westhampton  Beach  Performing  Arts  Center 
May  3rd-6th,  2001 

Call    or   Write    for    Entry    Forms   (Due  4/1/01) 

Christopher  Cooke,  Director 

Long  Island  Film  Festival 

c/o  P.O.  Box   13243 

Hauppauge,  NY  11788 

1-800-762-4769  .  (631)  853-4800 

From   10:00am-6pm,  Mon-Fri 

or  visit  our  website  at  www.lifilm.org 


January/February  2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      53 


G 


■JJ^S^Si-^ii 


NOTICES  OF  RELEVANCE  TO  AIVF  MEMBERS  ARE  LISTED 
FREE  OF  CHARGE  AS  SPACE  PERMITS.  THE  INDEPENDENT 
RESERVES  THE  RIGHT  TO  EDIT  FOR  LENGTH  AND  MAKES 
NO  GUARANTEES  ABOUT  REPETITIONS  OF  A  GIVEN 
NOTICE.  LIMIT  SUBMISSIONS  TO  60  WORDS  &  INDICATE 
HOW  LONG  INFO  WILL  BE  CURRENT.  DEADLINE:  1ST  OF 
THE  MONTH,  TWO  MONTHS  PRIOR  TO  COVER  DATE  (E.G., 
MARCH  1  FOR  MAY  ISSUE).  COMPLETE  CONTACT  INFO 
(NAME,  ADDRESS  &  PHONE)  MUST  ACCOMPANY  ALL 
NOTICES.  SEND  TO:  INDEPENDENT  NOTICES,  FIVF,  304 
HUDSON  ST.,  6TH  FL,  NY,  NY  10013.  WE  TRY  TO  BE  AS 
CURRENT  AS  POSSIBLE,  BUT  DOUBLE-CHECK  BEFORE 
SUBMITTING  TAPES  OR  APPLICATIONS. 

COMPETITIONS 

AFI  DVCAM  FEST,  April  &  Oct.  (postmark).  Fest,  adminis- 
tered by  AFI,  the  preeminent  nat'l  org  dedicated  to 
advancing  &  preserving  the  art  of  film,  TV  &  other  forms 
of  the  moving  image,  seeks  to  identify,  recognize  &  reward 
digital  video  professionals.  Entries  must  have  utilized 
Sony  DV  equip,  during  prod'n.  Cats:  fiction,  doc,  experi- 
mental, creative  event  coverage,  performance  coverage. 
Awards:  Grand  Prize,  Sony  equip,  of  choice  valued  at  up 
to  $50,000;  Category  prizes,  Sony  equip,  up  to  $5,000  or 
Sony  video  workshop.  Winning  entries  featured  at  NAB 
Convention  in  Las  Vegas  &  the 
AFI  Fest  in  Hollywood.  Preview 
&  formats:  DV,  DVCAM.  Entry 
fee-.  $75.  Contact:  AFI  DVCAM 
Fest,  2021  N.  Western  Ave.,  Los 
Angeles,  CA  90027;  (866)  AFI- 
SONY;  www.dvcamfest.com 


278-2209;  efink@fulierton.edu;  www.marquette.edu/ 
bea/write/STU-00-COMRhtm 

COLUMBUS  SCREENPLAY  DISCOVERY  AWARDS:  To 

bridge  gap  between  writers  &  entertainment  industry.  One 
screenplay  accepted  monthly  to  receive  rewrite  notes  from 
script  consultant.  Awards:  Up  to  $10,000  option,  script 
analysis,  film  courses,  conferences,  software.  Deadline: 
monthly.  Entry  fee:  $55.  Contact:  CSDA,  433  N.  Camden 
Dr.,  Ste.  600,  Beverly  Hills,  CA  90210;  (310)  288-1988; 
fax:  288-0257;  awards©  HollywoodNetwork.com; 
www.HollywoodNetwork.com 

DOCTOBER  qualifies  feature  &  short  length  films  for 
Academy  Award  consideration.  All  films  entered  into  IDA 
Awards  competition  considered  for  invitation  to  DOCtober, 
if  they  meet  following  minimum  reqs:  screening  format 
must  exist  on  film  (16mm  or  35mm);  no  broadcast,  or 
other  TV  airing  anytime  prior  to,  nor  w/in  6  months  follow- 
ing first  day  of  fest;  only  individual  doc  films  eligible.  Early 
bird  deadline  w/  discount:  April  15.  Final  deadline:  May 
15.  Fest  programmers  will  invite  selected  films  that  meet 
these  reqs  by  Aug.  15.  A  co-op  fee  may  apply  for  festival 
screening.  Entry  form  avail,  on  web  site.  Contact:  Melissa 
Disharoon  (310)  284-8422  x.  65;  www.documentary.org 

DRAMA  GARAGE  THURSDAY  NIGHT  SCRIPT  READING 
SERIES  holds  once  a  month  script  reading  at  Occidental 
Studios  in  Los  Angeles  w/  a 
professional  director  &  profes- 


GENE  SISKEL  FILM  CENTER  OFFERS  CHRISTOPHER 
METZEL  AWARD  FOR  INDEPENDENT  FILM  COMEDY,  a 

biennial  award  established  to  encourage  comic  innovation 
in  a  film  format.  Prize:  $2,500.  Deadline:  Jan.  31.  Winner 
will  also  be  bought  to  Chicago  for  a  June  awards  ceremo- 
ny, reception  &  public  screening  of  their  film.  Films  may  be 
any  length  &  have  been  completed  within  two  years  of  Jan. 
31,  2001.  Contact:  Jason  Hyde,  (312)  443-3733; 
jhyde2artic.edu;  www.siskelfilmcenter.org 

LAUGHING  HORSE  PRODUCTIONS  announces  its  3rd 
Annual  Screenplay  Contest.  Seeking  compelling  scripts  of 
every  genre — scripts  yet  to  receive  attention  they  deserve. 
Scripts  must  be  in  standard  screenplay  format  &  have 
copyright  or  be  registered  w/  the  WGA.  Entry  &  release 
form  must  be  sent  w/  each  screenplay.  Entry  fee:  $45. 
Deadline:  April  30.  Pri  zes:  1st,  Bert  Remsen  Memorial 
Scholarship  of  $1,000  &  performed  readings  in  Los 
Angeles  &  Seattle;  2nd,  Scholarship  of  $500.  For  more  info, 
release  form,  or  appl.,  visit:  www.geocities.com/  Ihprods. 

MONTEREY  COUNTY  FILM  COMMISSION  SCREENWRIT- 
ING  CONTEST.  Open  to  writers  who  have  not  yet  sold 
scripts  to  Hollywood.  All  genres  &  locations  accepted, 
contest  limited  to  first  500  entries.  First  prize:  $1,500. 
Deadlines:  Jan.  31.  Entry  fee:  $50.  Rules  &  entry  forms 
avail,  on  website  or  send  s.a.s.e.  to:  MCFC,  Box  111, 
Monterey,  CA  93942;  (831)  646-0910;  mryfilm@ 
aol.com;  www.filmmonterey.com 


Newsreel  Workshops 


AMERICAN  SCREENWRITERS 
ASSOCIATION  is  sponsoring 
new  contest,  dedicated  to  find- 
ing, "the  most  heartwarming, 
soulful  story  of  the  year."  Grand 
Prize:  $500,  script  consultation  & 
dinner  w/  Richard  Krevolin,  USC 
Screenwriting  Professor  &  author  of 
Screenwnting  from  the  Soul.  Entry 
fee:  $25/ASA  menbers;  $35/non- 
members;  Deadline:  Feb.  29. 
Contact:  ASA,  Box  12860,  Cincinnati, 
OH  45212;  (513)  731-9212;  johnj@ 
asascreenwriters.com; 
www.asascreenwriters.com 


The  Third  World  Newsreel  Film  & 
Video  Production  Workshop  is  now 
in  its  24th  year.  This  unique  program 
provides  practical  skills  and 
resources  for  emerging  film/video 
makers  of  color  who  have  limited  access  to  mainstream  training  programs. 
The  intensive  program  lasts  five  months  and  focuses  on  the  preproduction, 
production,  and  postproduction  skills  necessary  to  take  a  project  from  con- 
ception to  completion.  Each  participant  will  ultimately  produce,  write, 
direct,  and  edit  two  shorts:  a  digital  video  and  a  16mm  non-sync  sound 
film.  Participants  are  also  required  to  serve  as  a  technical  crew  member  on 
at  least  four  other  video  and  film  projects.  All  instructors  and  guest  speak- 
ers are  experienced  professionals  currently  working  in  the  field  of  film  and 
Mders.  See  Listing. 


NTV-FILM  SCREENPLAY  CONTEST  for  feature- 
length  scripts.  All  genres  accepted.  Winning 
script  will  be  purchased  for  production  by  NTV 
(you  must  have  rights).  Send  script  w/  $40 
entry  fee  payable  to  NTV,  21  Central  Park  West, 
Ste.  IT,  NY,  NY  10023. 

OUROBOROS  PRODUCTIONS  SCREENWRIT- 
ING CONTEST  is  open  to  anyone  w/  a  creative 
vision  &  a  feature-length  work.  All  genres  wel- 
come. Grand  prize:  $2,000.  Submission  fee: 
$30.  Deadline:  Feb.  28.  For  rules  &  guidlines, 
an  application  &  synopsis  form,  visit  web  site. 
Contact:  Ouroboros  Productions,  236  W.  Portal 
Ave.,  Box  #338,  San  Francisco,  CA  94127; 
www.ouroborosproductions.com 


AUSTIN  FILM  FESTIVAL  HEART  OF  FILM  SCREENPLAY 
COMPETITION:  Call  for  entries.  Three  feature  cats:  adult/ 
mature  themes,  children/family  &  comedy.  Awards:  cash 
prizes,  airfare  (up  to  $500),  hotel  accomm.  (up  to  $500), 
VIP  pass  to  Heart  of  Film  Screenwriters  Conference  (Oct. 
12-19),  Heart  of  Film  Bronzed  Award.  Entry  fee:  $40. 
Deadline:  May  15.  Contact:  (800)  310-FEST;  austin- 
film@  aol.com;  www.austinfilmfestival.org 

BROADCAST  EDUCATION  ASSOCIATION  NATIONAL  STU- 
DENT SCRIPT-WRITING  COMPETITION  is  designed  to 
promote  &  recognize  outstanding  student  scripts  in  cate- 
gories of  feature  film,  short  film  &  TV  series.  All  fuli  & 
part-time  students,  undergrad  or  graduate,  in  U.S.  insti- 
tutions of  higher  education.  Awards:  $200  check,  soft- 
ware, book  of  choice  from  Focal  Press.  Deadline:  Jan. 
Contact:  Broadcast  Education  Assoc.;  Dept.  of  Comm.,  CA 
State  Univ.,  Fullerton,  CA  92834;  (714)  278-5399;  fax: 


sional  actors.  Writer  chosen  receives  copy  of  Final  Draft 
software  &  is  interviewed  by  lntheBiz.net,  a  web  site  & 
private  networking  org  for  assistants  in  entertainment 
industry  to  agents  &  producers  looking  for  new  talent. 
Awards:  Final  Draft  Software,  professional  reading,  inter- 
view w/  lntheBiz.net.  Deadline:  monthly.  Entry  fee:  $25. 
For  appl.  see  web  site.  For  rules  &  submission  info  con- 
tact: Drama  Garage  Thursday  Night  Script  Reading  Series, 
1861  N.  Whitley,  Ste.  205,  Los  Angeles,  CA  90028;  (323) 
993-5700;  www.dramagarage.com 

EGIPOW  FILMFEST  accepts  all  genres  incl.  docs,  narra- 
tives, experimental  &  animated  works,  both  feature- 
length  &  short.  Winning  feature  &  short  screened  in  a 
mainstream  theater.  Deadline:  Feb.  15.  Formats:  8mm, 
16mm,  35mm,  70mm.  Entry  fees:  $25  (short);  $35  (fea- 
ture). Contact:  Egipow  Films,  7225  Hollywood  Blvd.,  Ste. 
316,  Los  Angeles,  CA  90046;  egipow@aol.com 


PAGETURNERS  SCREENPLAY  CONTEST:  All 

entrants  receive  pro  critique.  Deadline:  Feb  15. 
Winner  gets  $375  &  agency  recommendations. 
Entry  fees:  $75  (features);  $25  (shorts). 
Contact:  (323)  252-4243;  screenfate@aol.com 


SCRIPTAPALOOZA  3RD  ANNUAL  SCREENWRITING 
COMPETITION.  Grand  prize  $25,000.  Deadlines:  post- 
marked Jan.  5  (early,  $40),  Mar.  5  (first  deadline,  $45), 
April  16  (late  entry,  $50).  Contact:  7775  Sunset  Blvd. 
PMB  #200,  Hollywood,  CA  90046;  (323)  654-5809; 
info@scriptapalooza.com 

VIDEO  SHORTS  ANNUAL  COMPETITION  seeks  short 
videos  for  juried  screenings  open  to  public.  10  entries 
chosen  as  winners;  top  2  receive  $100,  other  8  receive 
$50,  plus  any  revenue  received  from  rental  or  sales.  Max. 
length:  6  min.  Entry  fee:  $20;  add  $10  (for  each  addition- 
al entry  on  same  cassette);  max.  3  entries  per  entrant.  All 
entries  must  incl.  entry  form.  Tapes  &  boxes  must  be 
labeled  w/  name,  titles  &  running  times.  Formats:  3/4", 
3/4"  SR  VHS  (PAL  or  SECAM),  S-VHS.  DV.  Incl.  s.a.s.e.  for 


54    THE    INDEPENDENT    January/February  2001 


tape  return.  Deadline:  postmarked  1st  Sat.  in  Feb.  (annu- 
ally). Contact:  Video  Shorts,  Box  20295,  Seattle,  WA 
98102;  (206)  322-9010.  www.videoshorts.com 

Conferences  •  Workshops 

8th  int'l  film  financing  conference  announces 

ANNUAL  OPEN  DAY:  Jan  12,  San  Francisco,  a  full  day  of 
panels  &  networking  opportunities  w/  key  int'l  film 
financiers  &  buyers.  The  only  day  of  IFFCON  w/  registra- 
tion open  to  the  public.  Topics  include:  "Pitch  Perfect: 
How  to  Sell  Your  Idea"  &  "Funding  the  Future:  The  Digital 
Wave."  Registration  fee:  $150.  Info  &  registration:  (415) 
281-9777;  www.iffcon.com 

FROM  TODAY  A  CONFERENCE  OF  ELECTRONICALLY 
MEDIATED  DOC  WORK.  March  15-17.  Providence,  Rl. 
Hosted  by  Brown  University's  Scholarly  Technology  Group. 
Conference  for  doc  producers  &  publishers  focusing  on 
new  technologies  for  fieldwork,  production  &  distribution. 
Conference  includes  panel  discussions  &  presentations  of 
new  doc  work  &  practical  seminars  addressing  tech- 
niques &  strategies  facilitated  by  electronic  tools.  Seeking 
participation  from  anyone  interested  in  presenting  or  dis- 
cussing their  electronically  mediated  doc  work.  Contact: 
(401)  863-9313;  fromtoday@brown.edu;  www.stg. 
brown.edu/conferences/fromtoday 

THIRD  WORLD  NEWSREEL  2001  FILM  &  VIDEO  PRO- 
DUCTION WORKSHOP  Workshop  emphasizes  training  & 
support  of  people  of  color  who  have  limited  resourses. 
Intensive  5  month  program  focuses  on  preproduction, 
production  &  postproduction.  Primary  objective  to  have 
each  member  produce,  write,  direct  &  edit  2  projects. 
Workshop  begins  April.  Prior  film/video  experience  recom- 
mended but  not  required.  Cost  of  workshop  is  $500. 
Deadline:  Jan.  12.  Contact:  Third  World  Newsreel,  545  8th 
Ave.,  10th  fl.,  New  York,  NY  10018;  (212)  947-9277;  fax 
594-6417;  twn@twn.org;  www.twn.org 

Films  •  Tapes  Wanted 

arizona  state  university  art  museum  short 

FILM  &  VIDEO  FESTIVAL,  Late  April,  AZ.  Fest  is  a  one- 
night  outdoor  event.  All  cats  (animation,  b/w,  experimen- 
tal), entries  should  be  under  10  min.  Awards  are  in  name 
only:  Jurors  Award  &  LeBlanc  Audience  Choice  Award. 
Entries  will  be  listed  on  fest  web  site  &  will  become  a 
part  of  the  museum's  video  library.  Preview  &  format: 
VHS,  submit  s.a.s.e.  for  return.  No  entry  fee.  Contact: 
ASU  Fest,  John  D.  Spiak,  Curatorial  Museum  Specialist, 
ASU  Art  Museum,  10th  St.  &  Mill  Ave.,  Tempe,  AZ  85287; 
(480)  965-2787;  fax:  965-5254;  spiak@asu.edu; 
www.asuam.fa.asu.edu/filmfest/main.htm 

AXLEGREASE,  Buffalo,  NY  cable  access  program  of  ind. 
film  &  video,  accepting  all  genres  under  28  min.  on  1/2", 
3/4",  8mm,  Hi-8.  Send  labeled  w/  name,  address,  title, 
length,  additional  info  &  s.a.s.e.  for  tape  return  to: 
Squeaky  Wheel,  175  Elmwood  Ave.,  Buffalo,  NY  14201; 
(716)  884-7172;  squeaky@pce.net 

BIJOU  MATINEE  is  a  showcase  for  independent  shorts. 
Program  appears  weekly  on  Channel  35  leased  access 
Manhattan  Cable  South  (below  86th  St.)  every  Sat.  at 
2:30  p.m.  Submissions  welcome  &  should  be  25  min.  or 
less.  VHS,  3/4",  or  DV.  Send  copies  to  Bijou  Matinee,  Box 
649,  New  York,  NY  10159;  (212)  505-3649; 
www.BijouMatinee.com 


SON  VIDA  PICTURES 

41  UNION  SQUARE  WEST 
NEW  YORK  CITY 


212  242-9585 


Film-Video 


The  University  of  Miami 
School  of  Communication  seeks  a 


ASSISTANT  PROFESSOR 


to  teach  undergraduate  and  graduate 

screenwriting  for  the  academic  year 

commencing  August,  2001. 

The  applicant  should  be  competent  in 
writing  for  motion  pictures  and  television. 
A  terminal  degree,  professional  credits  and 
teaching  experience  are  required.  Salary  is 

competitive  and  commensurate  with 

qualifications  and  experience.  The  search 

will  remain  open  until  the  position  is  filled. 


Send  resume  to: 
Professor  Paul  Lazarus 

University  of  Miami 

School  of  Communication 

P.O.  Box  248127 

Coral  Gables,  Florida  33124-2030 

pla7.arus@miami.edu 


The  University  of  Miami  is  an  equal  opportunity/affirmative  action  employer 
and  encourages  applications  from  minorities  and  women. 


January/Februan    2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      55 


BROOKLYN  ARTS  EXCHANGE  accepting  short  16mm  films 
&  videos  (under  30  min.)  by  NYC  artists  tor  Independent 
Film  &  Video  Series.  Any  genre/subject  matter.  Deadline: 
ongoing.  Send  tapes  &  s.a.s.e.  to:  Independent  Film  & 
Video  Series,  Brooklyn  Arts  Exchange,  421  5th  Ave., 
Brooklyn,  NY  11215;  Info/details:  (718)  832-0018  x.  8. 

FINISHING  PICTURES  accepting  shorts,  feature  works- 
in-progress  &  web  films  seeking  distribution  or  exposure 
to  financial  resources  for  CLIPS,  a  quarterly  showcase 
presented  to  invited  audience  of  industry  professionals. 
All  productions  should  be  digital.  Deadline:  ongoing. 
Contact:  Tommaso  Fiacchino,  (212)  971-5846;  www. 
finishingpictures.com 

FIREWATER  FILMS,  only  year-round  short  film  series  in 
NYC,  seeks  short  film  submissions  (cats:  narrative,  doc, 
animation  &  experimental).  Films  shown  on  both  VHS  & 
16mm  formats  at  Big  Top  Theater.  Contact:  Firewater 
Films,  Box  20039,  NY,  NY  10025;  (212)  414-5419;  fax: 
724-8190;  www.firewaterfilms.com 

NEW  CASTLE  COMMUNITY  TV  STATION  in  Chappaqua, 
NY  offering  video  producers  the  opportunity  to  cablecast 
their  projects.  Preferrably  New  Castle  or  Westchester  res- 
idents, although  not  req.  Contact:  NCCTV@hotmail.com 

IMAGENATION:  Established  in  1997  imagenation,  a 
Harlem-based  int'l  cinema  &  music  test,  is  seeking  short 
cinematic  works  (35  min.  or  less)  of  all  genres,  subjects 
&  styles  created  by  makers  of  Afnkan  descent.  Films  & 
videos  are  screened  monthly  by  theme.  Some  themes  for 
2001  will  incl.  Diaspora  Daughters  Represent!  (a 
women's  history  month  celebration);  Animation  Nation; 
Nuyorican  Soul  (Latino/a  films);  Reel  Revolution  (political 
films)  &  many  more.  Download  appl.  from  the  web  site. 
Send  a  VHS  copy,  synopsis,  bio,  s.a.s.e.  &  submission 
fee  to:  imagenation  film  festival,  College  Station,  Box 
127,  New  York,  NY  10027.  Contact:  Moikgantsi  Kgama, 
Fest  Dir.  (212)  631-1189;  het  heru@hotmail.com; 
www.imagenation-films.com 

INDUSTRIAL  TV:  cutting-edge  cable  access  show  is  look- 
ing for  experimental,  narrative,  humorous,  dramatic,  ani- 
mation &  underground  works  for  inclusion  in  fall  season. 
Controversial,  uncensored  &  subversive  material  encour- 
aged. Guaranteed  exposure  in  NYC  area.  Contact:  Edmund 
Varuolo,  c/o  2droogies  productions,  Box  020206,  Staten 
Island,  NY  10302;  www.2droogies.com 

KQED-TV,  public  TV  serving  San  Francisco/Oakland/San 
Jose,  looking  for  independent  docs  &  dramas  6-30  min. 
for  broadcast  acquisition.  Contact:  Scott  Dwyer,  (415) 
553-2218;  sdwyer@kqed.org 

MICROCINEMA,  INC./BLACKCHAIR  PRODUCTIONS  accept- 
ing short  video,  film  &  digital-media  submissions  of  30  min. 
or  less  on  ongoing  basis  for  monthly  screening  program 
"Independent  Exposure."  Looking  for  short,  experimental, 
narrative,  avant-garde,  subversive,  alternative,  erotic,  ani- 
mation, underground,  etc.  Works  selected  may  qualify  for  our 
DVD/VHS  home  video  compilations  as  well  as  netcasting  via 
microcinema.com.  Submit  VHS  or  S-VHS  (NTSC  preferred) 
clearly  labeled  filmmaker  info  &  support  materials  incl.  pho- 
tos to  Microcinema,  Inc.,  2318  2nd  Ave.,  PMB  313-A, 
Seattle,  WA  98121;  Info/details:  (206)  568-6051;  info® 
microcinema.com;  www.microcinema.com 

MUSIC  VIDEOS  WANTED.  Submit  original  music  videos  for 
a  super  series  for  the  electromagnetic  spectrum.  Any 


genre  or  subject.  Amateurs,  students  &  professionals  wel- 
come. Submit  VHS  cassette,  email  address,  &  s.a.s.e.  for 
return  materials  to:  Grrrowl  Productions,  24  Walker  Dr., 
Belle  Mead,  NJ  08502;  grrrowlproductions@  yahoo.com; 
www.geocities.com/grrrowlproductions/ 

OCULARIS  seeks  submissions  from  independent  film- 
makers for  continuing  series.  Works  under  15  min.  con- 
sidered for  Sunday  night  screenings  where  they  precede 
evening's  feature,  plus  brief  Q  &  A  w/  audience.  Works 
longer  than  15  min.  considered  for  regular  group  shows  of 
independent  filmmakers.  Only  show  works  on  16mm  w/ 
optical  track.  Send  films,  together  w/  completed  entry 
form  (download  from  web  site)  to:  Short  Film  Curator, 
Ocularis,  Galapagos  Art  &  Performance  Space,  70  N.  6th 
St..  Brooklyn,  NY  11211;  ph/fax:  (718)  388-8713; 
ocularis@billburg.com;  www.billburg.com/ocularis 

OPEN  CALL  2001:  The  Independent  Television  Service 
(ITVS)  considers  proposals  for  innovative  programs  of 
standard  broadcast  lengths  for  public  television  twice  a 
year  for  Open  Call.  ITVS  seeks  provocative,  compelling 
stories  from  diverse  points  of  view  &  diverse  communi- 
ties. No  finished  works.  Projects  in  any  genre  (animation, 
drama,  doc,  experimental)  or  in  any  stage  of  development 
will  be  considered.  Programs  should  tell  a  great  story, 
break  traditional  molds  of  exploring  cultural,  political, 
social  or  economic  issues,  take  creative  risks,  or  give 
voice  to  those  not  usually  heard.  Download  applications  & 
guidlines  at  web  site.  Deadline:  Feb.  15.  Contact:  (415) 
356-8383  x.  232;  Beky_Hayes@itvs.org;  www.itvs.org 

PBS  SEEKS  SUBMISSIONS  FOR  2001  INDEPENDENT 
LENS.  Independent  Lens  expands  opportunities  for  audi- 
ences to  see  original  &  provocative  work  on  topics  often 
ignored  by  commercial  TV.  As  part  of  PBS,  Independent 
Lens  programs  gain  nat'l  recognition  &  the  many  benefits 
of  the  PBS  logo.  Currently,  a  licensing  fee  is  not  avail,  for 
programs  being  accepted  into  the  series.  Filmmakers  may 
incur  miscellaneous  packaging  &  promotional  fees  neces- 
sary to  bring  the  program  to  air.  While  works  of  all  lengths 
are  accepted,  please  keep  standard  PBS  lengths  in  mind, 
which  may  necessitate  edits.  Deadline:  March  15.  Send 
materials  to:  Cheryl  A.  Jones  PBS,  Independent  Lens, 
1320  Braddock  PL,  Alexandria,  VA  22314;  (703)  739- 
5010;  carapub@aol.com:  www.pbs.org/independentlens 

REEL  ALTERNATIVE  FILM  SALON;  Brooklyn's  original 
microcinema  featuring  indie  filmmakers  of  color,  seeks  film  & 
script  submissions  for  second  season.  All  genres  &  formats 
welcome.  Special  interest  in  female  action  flicks  for  March  & 
animation  for  April.  Film  (submitted  on  VHS)  &  script  sub- 
missions must  incl.  synopsis,  bio  &  $10  (check/m.o.).  Films 
screened  monthly  &  scripts  staged  quarterly.  Contact:  (718) 
670-3616;  www.ighmultimedia.com 

SOUTHWEST  ALTERNATIVE  MEDIA  PROJECT  (SWAMP)  is 
looking  for  possible  inclusion  in  25th  season  of  The 
Territory,  the  longest-running  PBS  showcase  of  indepen- 
dent film/video  in  the  country.  Recent  works  under  30 
min.  in  all  genres  that  are  avail,  for  non-exclusive, 
statewide  (Texas)  broadcast  btwn.  Oct.  2000-Sept.  2001. 
Send  VHS  (NTSC)  copy  of  work,  brief  synopsis  &  film- 
maker bio  to:  SWAMR  1519  W.  Main,  Houston,  TX  77006; 
(713)  522-8592;  swamp@swamp.org;  www.swamp.org 

THE  SHORT  LIST,  the  showcase  for  American  &  int'l  short 
films,  airs  nat'ly  on  PBS.  Pays  $100/min.  All  genres,  30  sec. 
to  19  min.  long.  Produced  in  assoc.  w/  Kodak  Worldwide 


Independent  Filmmakers  Program.  Awards  five  Kodak  prod- 
uct grants  annually  to  selected  filmmakers  on  series.  Sub- 
mit on  VHS.  For  appl.,  send  s.a.s.e.  to:  Jack  Ofield,  Dir., 
Production  Center,  SDSU,  5500  Campanile  Dr.,  San  Diego, 
CA  92182;  ShortList@mail.sdsu.edu;  www.theshortlist.ee 

THIRD  WORLD  NEWSREEL,  one  of  oldest  alternative 
media  organizations  in  U.S.,  seeking  film  &  video  submis- 
sions of  short  &  feature  length  docs,  narratives,  experi- 
mental &  other  works  attentive  to  intersections  of  race, 
class  &  gender.  Projects  that  address  other  issues  of 
political  &  social  interest  also  welcome.  Formats:  1/2" 
VHS  tapes.  Send  submissions,  synopsis  of  the  film  & 
director's  bio  to:  Third  World  Newsreel,  Attn:  Noel  Shaw, 
545  Eighth  Ave.,  New  York,  NY  10018;  (212)  947-9277; 
fax:  594-6417;  twn@twn.org;  www.twn.org 

WGBH-TV,  BOSTON:  WGBH  is  committed  to  supporting 
indie  filmmakers,  incl.  those  who  may  never  have  consid- 
ered local  TV  broadcast.  Looking  for  films  &  videos  to  be 
part  of  ongoing  local  ind.  film  series  Viewpoint,  which 
showcases  works  from  New  England  &  around  the  world. 
Films  selected  for  broadcast  will  receive  honorarium. 
Tapes  accompanied  by  s.a.s.e.  will  be  returned. 
Broadcast  masters  formats:  DigiBeta,  Beta  SR  D5  or  D3. 
Cannot  accept  programming  produced  for  public  access 
cable.  Send  VHS  screening  copies  of  your  doc,  narrative 
film,  or  animation  (no  length  req.)  to:  Chad  Davis, 
Viewpoint,  WGBH-TV,  125  Western  Ave.,  Boston,  MA 
02134;  (617)  300-2647;  chad_davis@wgbh.org 

Publications 

CANYON  CINEMA  announces  publication  of  major  new 
catalog  of  avant-garde  /experimental  films  &  video  tapes 
for  rent  &  sale.  500-page  volume  of  the  Canyon  Cinema 
Catalog  2000  (#8).  contains  285  illustrations  & 
describes  more  than  3,500  works  of  cinematic  art  by  370 
filmmakers.  Also  25th  Anniv.  Catalog  (incl.  1993-5  sup- 
plements) w/  over  3,500  film  &  video  titles  is  avail,  for 
$20.  ph/fax:  (415)  626-2255;  canyoncinema@usa.net; 
www.canyoncinema.com 

INDEPENDENT  PRESS  ASSOCIATION:  Find  an  indepen- 
dent audience!  The  IPA's  new  directory  to  independent 
magazine  world  can  give  you  the  name  &  number  of  the 
editor  you  need.  For  just  $24.95  (plus  $3.05  S&H) 
Annotations:  A  Guide  To  The  Independent  Press  can  open 
up  a  world  of  diverse  &  exciting  contacts.  For  order  send 
check  to:  IPA,  2390  Mission  St.,  #201,  San  Francisco,  CA 
94110;  (415)  634-4401;  www.indypress.org 

VOLUNTEER  LAWYERS  FOR  THE  ARTS  offer  seminars  on 
"Copyright  Basics,"  "Nonprofit  Incorporation  &  Tax 
Exemption"  &  more.  Reservations  must  be  made. 
Contact:  (212)  319-2910. 

Resources  •  Funds 

ARTS  LINK  COLLABORATIVE  PROJECTS  allow  U.S. 
artists  and  arts  orgs  to  undertake  projects  overseas  with 
colleagues  in  Central  &  Eastern  Europe  with  grants  from 
$2,500-$10,000.  Applicants  must  be  citizens  or  perma- 
nent residents  of  U.S.  Deadline:  postmarked  by  Jan.  18. 
Contact:  Arts  Link,  CEC  International  Partners,  12  W.  31 
St.,  New  York,  NY  10001;  artslink@cecip.org 

CALIFORNIA  CH  MEDIA  PROGRAM  PLANNING  GRANTS 

provide  up  to  $750  to  support  development  of  major  grant 


56     THE    INDEPENDENT     January/February  2001 


proposal  &  to  pay  for  background  research,  consultations 
w/  humanities  scholars  &  community  reps,  travel  &  simi- 
lar activities  necessary  to  develop  proposal.  Before  apply- 
ing, consult  w/  CA  Council  for  Humanities  staff.  Deadline: 
Aug.  1.  Contact:  CCH,  312  Sutter  St.,  Ste.  601,  San 
Francisco,  CA  94108;  (415)  391-1474;  in  LA:  (213)  623- 
5993;  in  San  DiegO:  (619)  232-4020;  www.calhum.org 

CALIFORNIA  ARTS  COUNCIL  offers  various  grants  &  pro- 
grams for  performing  arts.  Contact:  CA  Arts  Council,  1300 
1  St,  Ste.  930,  Sacramento,  CA  95814;  (916)  322-6555; 
(800)  201-6201;  fax:  322-6575;  cac@cwo.com; 
www.cac.ca.gov. 

COMPOSER  CONTACT  ON-LINE  CATALOGUE:  Har- 
vestworks  Digital  Media  Center  presents  interactive  data- 
base to  learn  more  about  composers  who  can  be  commis- 
sioned to  write  &  record  compositions  for  various  projects. 
MP3  samples  &  biographical  info  can  be  accessed. 
Contact:  harvestw@dti.net;  www.harvestworks.org 

CONVERGENCE  2001  INTERNATIONAL  ARTS  FESTIVAL 
SEPT.  8-24:  Providence  Parks  Dept.,  Office  of  Cultural 
Affairs  seeks  assorted  media/mixed-media  proposals. 
Work  will  be  installed  throughout  downtown  area.  Work 
must  be  weather-resistant  &  able  to  withstand  public 
interaction.  All  proposals  must  be  accompanied  by  sam- 
ples of  recent  work — not  to  exceed  20  slides — reviews  & 
resume.  Requests  for  funding  not  to  exceed  $2,000. 
Materials  returned  w/  s.a.s.e.  w/  proper  postage. 
Deadline:  Jan.  15.  Contact:  Providence  Parks  Dept,  Office 
of  Cultural  Affairs,  400  Westminster  St,  4th  Fl. 
Providence,  Rl  02903;  (401)  621-1992;  info@ 
caparts.org;  www.caparts.org 

DONNELL  MEDIA  CENTER  OF  THE  NEW  YORK  PUBLIC 
LIBRARY  accepting  proposals  for  video  installation  in 
street-level  display  window  exhibited  for  entire  month  of 
June  2001.  Submissions  celebrating  Gay  &  Lesbian  Pride 
Month  welcome.  Work  must  be  silent.  Budget  range 
should  be  incl.  w/  proposal.  Deadline:  Jan.  31.  Send  pro- 
posals to:  Joseph  Yranski,  Donnell  Media  Center,  20  W. 
53rd  St.,  New  York,  NY  10019. 

EASTMAN  SCHOLARS  PROGRAM:  Colleges  &  Univs.  in 
U.S.  &  Canada  which  offer  a  BA/BS/BFA,  MA/MFA  in  film 
or  film  production  may  nominate  2  students  for  $5,000 
scholarships.  Deadline:  June  15.  For  nomination  form, 
write  to:  Int'l  Doc.  Association,  1551  S.  Robertson  Blvd., 
Ste.  201,  Los  Angeles,  CA  90035. 

FUND  FOR  JEWISH  DOCUMENTARY  FILMMAKING  offers 

grants  up  to  $50,000  for  production/completion  of  original 
films  &  videos  that  interpret  Jewish  history,  culture  & 
identity  to  diverse  public  audiences.  Applicants  must  be 
U.S.  citizens  or  permanent  residents.  Priority  given  to 
works-in-progress  that  address  critical  issues,  combine 
artistry  &  intellectual  clarity,  can  be  completed  within  1 
year  of  award  &  have  broadcast  potential.  Deadline:  April 
4.  Contact:  Nat'l  Foundation  for  Jewish  Culture,  330  7th 
Ave.,  12th  fl.,  NY,  NY  10001;  (212)  629-0500  x.  205. 

JOHN  D.  &  CATHERINE  T.  MACARTHUR  FOUNDATION 

provides  partial  support  to  selected  doc  series  &  films 
intended  for  nat'l  or  int'l  broadcast  &  focusing  on  an  issue 
in  one  of  Foundation's  2  major  programs  (Human  & 
Community  Development;  Global  Security  & 
Sustainability).  Send  prelim.  2-  to  3-pg  letter  to:  John  D. 
&  Catherine  T.  MacArthur  Foundation,  140  S.  Dearborn 


VI 


training 


digital/non-linear  editing 


Beginning,  intermediate,  and 
advanced  classes  are  offered 
monthly. 


The  Wexner  Center  for  the  Arts 
is  an  Avid  Authorized  Education 
Center  serving  Ohio,  Indiana, 
Michigan,  Western  Pennsylvania, 
and  Kentucky. 

Call  for  more  information 

Maria  Troy,  674  292-7617 

wexner  center  for  the  arts 

the  ohio  state  university 
1871  north  high  street 
columbus,  ohio  43210 
www.wexarts.org 


THE  DUTPDST 


MULTIMEDIA    &    VIDED     PRODUCTION 


AVID 

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AND    AVID 

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EXPERIENCED    EDITORS     AVAILABLE 
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FOR     INDEPENDENTS     AND    ARTIST 

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LOCAL  INDEPENDENTS 
COLLABORATING 
jKith  STATIONS 


Production  funds  for  independent 
producer  &  public  television 
station  collaborations 

Single  shows  and  interstitials 
are  eligible 

Funding  from  $10,000-$75,000 

Cash  contributions  from  any 
source  and  station  in-kind 
donations  will  be  matched  1:1 


Fender  Philosophers 

^-  •  Greener  Grass: 
Cuba,  Baseball 
and  the  Uni 

Sing  Faster: 
The  Stagehands' 
Ring  Cycle 

Stranger 
with  a  Camera 


APPLICATION  DEADLINE:  APRIL  3D,  2001  FOR  GUIDELINES 

&  APPLICATION: 


riitvs 


download  @  www.itvs.org 
call  (415)  356-8383,  ext.  230 
email:  Heidi_Schuster@itvs.org 


independent  television  service 


l.uuun  Februan    2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      57 


(uj^-ajas) 


\^|>r     bHI«IUI«    bll«EI«IH         -•"wirjniv'-  bHIHLUU    CUUU         '^^JSS 

SflW     Canyon  Cinema  proudly  announces  the  publication  of  a  500  page  completely  illustrated     f$jtJ 

catalog  that  contains  descriptions  of  more  than  3500  avant  garde  films  and  video  tapes  for  sale 

and  rent  from  350  experimental  filmmakers.  To  request  a  copy,  please  send  a  check  for 

$35,  plus  $6  postage  (international  shipping  is  higher)  to: 

Canyon  Cinema,  Inc.,  2325  Third  Street  #338,  San  Francisco,  CA  94107 
phone/fax  415-626-2255       vuwvu.canyoncinema.com       filivis@canyoncinema.com 


Judge  Us  By  the 

Collections 

We  Keep 


A  Sekani  Company 
Ph:  212.799.9100      Fx:  212.799.9258      VAnwv.hotshotscoolcuts.com      dips@filmclip.com 


The  World's  Greatest  Contemporary  &  Archival  Stock  Footage  Library 


St.,  Ste.  1100,  Chicago,  IL  60603;  (312)  726-8000; 
4answers@macfdn.org;  www.macfdn.org 

LINCS  2001  (LOCAL  INDEPENDENTS  COLLABORAT- 
ING WITH  STATIONS),  a  funding  initiative  from  the 
Independent  Television  Service  (ITVS),  provides  incen- 
tive or  matching  monies  ($10,000-$75,000)  for  part- 
nerships between  public  TV  stations  &  independent  pro- 
ducers. Projects  in  any  stage  of  development  will  be 
considered.  Programs  should  tell  a  great  story,  stimu- 
late civic  discourse  &  break  traditional  molds  of  explor- 
ing complex  cultural,  political,  social  or  economic 
issues.  Indie  film  &  videomakers  are  encouraged  to 
seek  partnerships  with  their  local  public  television  sta- 
tions. Download  appls.  at  web  site.  Cats:  any.  Deadline: 
April  30.  Contact:  (415)  356-8383  x.  230; 
Heidi_Schuster@itvs.org;  www.itvs.org 

MEDIA  GRANTS  AVAILABLE  TO  INDIVIDUALS  &  ORGANI- 
ZATIONS IN  NEW  YORK  STATE.  The  Experimental  TV 
Center  provides  support  to  electronic  media  &  film  artists 
&  organizations  in  New  York  State.  We  provide  finishing 
funds  of  up  to  $1,500.  Cats:  all.  Applicants  must  be  res- 
idents of  NY  State.  Deadline:  March  15.  We  provide  pre- 
sentation funds  to  not-for-profit  orgs  in  NY.  Deadline: 
ongoing.  The  Media  Arts  Technical  Assistance  Fund  is 
designed  to  help  nonprofit  media  arts  programs  in  New 
York  State.  Up  to  $2,000  per  project.  Orgs  must  be  receiv- 
ing support  from  New  York  State  Council  of  the  Arts 
Electronic  Media  &  Film  Program.  Deadlines:  Jan.  1,  April 
1,  July  1,  &  Oct.  1.  For  all  funds  contact:  Sherry  Miller 
Hocking,  Experimental  TV  Center,  109  Lower  Fairfield  Rd., 
Newark  Valley,  NY  13811;  (607)  687-4341;  etc@experi 
mentaltvcenter.org;  www.experimentaltvcenter.org 

NATIONAL  ENDOWMENT  FOR  THE  HUMANTIES:  Summer 
seminars  &  institutes  for  college  &  univ.  teachers. 
Seminars  incl.  15  participants  working  in  collaboration  w/ 
1  or  2  leading  scholars.  Institutes  provide  intensive  col- 
laborative study  of  texts,  historical  periods  &  ideas  to 
undergrad  teaching  in  humanities.  Detailed  info  &  appl. 
materials  are  avail,  from  project  directors.  Contact:  (202) 
606-8463;  sem-inst@neh.gov;  www.neh.gov 

NATIONAL  ENDOWMENT  FOR  THE  HUMANITIES  Division 
of  Public  Programs  provides  grants  for  the  planning, 
scripting  &  production  of  film,  television  &  digital  media 
projects  that  address  humanities  themes.  Download 
appl.  guidelines  from  web  site.  Deadline:  Feb.  22.  (202) 
606-8267;  publicpgms@neh.org;  www.neh.gov/html/ 
guidelin/pub_prog.html 

NATIONAL  GEOGRAPHIC  TELEVISION  seeking  story  pro- 
posals from  U.S.  citizen  or  permanent  resident  minority 
filmmakers  for  National  Geographic  Explorer,  award-win- 
ning doc  series.  To  request  appl.  for  CDP  (Cultural 
Diversity  Project)  call:  (202)  775-7860. 

NATIONAL  LATINO  COMMUNICATIONS  CENTER  is  a 

media  arts  production  resource  center  that  supports, 
produces  &  syndicates  Latino  programming  for  public  TV. 
Purpose  is  to  empower  Latinos  in  U.S.  throughout  broad- 
cast comm.  media.  To  that  end,  its  mission  is  to:  provide 
to  the  nation  quality  programming  which  illuminates 
diversity  of  nat'l  Latino  ethos  through  expressions  of  its 
arts,  cultures  &  histories;  provide  training  &  related 
assistance  to  develop  &  support  Latino  media  talent 
whose  creative  visions  will  transform  Latino  experience 
into  compelling  images  of  a  people.  Contact:  NLCC.  3171 


58     THE    INDEPENDENT     January/February  2001 


Los  Feliz  Blvd.,  Ste  200,  LA,  CA  90039;  (213)  663-5606; 
www.nlcc.com/ 

NEWENGLANDFILM.COM  is  a  unique  on-line  resource 
that  provides  local  film  &  video  professionals  w/  search- 
able industry  directory,  listings  of  local  events,  screen- 
ings, jobs,  calls  for  entries  &  upcoming  productions,  in 
addition  to  filmmaker  interviews  &  industry  news. 
Reaching  over  11,000  visitors  each  month.  All  articles  & 
listings  on  sites  free  to  read:  www.nefilm.com 

NEWPROJECT.NET  provides  a  new  vehicle  for  producers 
in  search  of  partnerships,  financing  &  distribution  for  pro- 
jects. On-line  database  of  projects  presentations  in 
development,  production,  or  recently  completed,  site  is  a 
place  where  pros  can  "publish"  &  announce  copyrighted 
projects  &  present  them  to  programming  execs,  distrib. 
companies,  potential  underwriters,  investors,  etc. 

NEW  YORK  STATE  COUNCIL  ON  THE  ARTS  Individual 
Artists  Program  announces  availability  of  production 
funds  for  video,  radio,  audio,  installation  work  &  comput- 
er-based art.  Maximum  award  $25,000.  Artist  must  also 
be  sponsored  by  nonprofit  organization.  Deadline:  March 
1.  Contact:  Don  Palmer:  NYSCA,  915  Broadway,  8th  fl. 
New  York,  NY  10010;  (212)  387-7063;  dpalmer@ 
nysca.org 

NEXT  WAVE  FILMS,  funded  by  the  Independent  Film 
Channel,  was  est.  to  provide  finishing  funds  &  other  vital 
support  to  emerging  filmmakers  with  low-budget, 
English-language  features  from  U.S.  &  abroad.  Selected 
films  receive  assistance  with  postproduction,  imple- 
menting a  fest  strategy  &  securing  distribution.  Through 
Agenda  2001,  exceptionally  talented  filmmakers  with  an 


established  body  of  work  can  receive  production  financ- 
ing &  assistance  for  features  shot  on  digital  video  & 
intended  for  theatrical  release.  Both  fiction  &  non-fiction 
films  considered  for  finishing  funds  &  Agenda  2001. 
Contact:  Next  Wave  Films,  2510  7th  St.,  Ste.  E,  Santa 
Monica,  CA  90405.  (310)  392-1720;  fax:  399-3455; 
launch@nextwave  films.com;  www.nextwavefilms.com 

OCTOBER  EVENT  GRANTS:  NY  Council  for  the  Humanities 
celebrates  State  Humanities  Month  (Oct.),  a  celebration  of 
history,  culture  &  human  imagination  w/  awards  for  local 
programming  reflecting  diversity  of  humanities  institutions 
&  subjects.  Deadline:  May  1.  Contact:  NYCH,  150 
Broadway,  Ste.  1700,  NY,  NY  10038;  (212)  233-1131;  fax: 
233-4607;  hum@echonyc.com;  www.culturefront.org 

OPPENHEIMER  CAMERA:  new  filmmaker  grant  equip, 
program  offers  access  to  pro  16mm  camera  system  for 
first  serious  new  productions.  Purely  commercial  projects 
not  considered.  Provides  camera  on  year-round  basis.  No 
appl.  deadline,  but  allow  10  week  minimum  for  process- 
ing. Contact:  Film  Grant,  Oppenheimer  Camera,  666  S. 
Plummer  St.,  Seattle,  WA  98134;  (206)  467-8666;  fax: 
467-9165;  filmgrant@oppenheimercamera.com 

PANAVISION'S  NEW  FILMMAKER  PROGRAM  provides 
16mm  camera  pkgs.  to  short,  nonprofit  film  projects  of 
any  genre,  incl.  student  thesis  films.  Send  s.a.s.e.  w/ 
550  stamp  to:  Kelly  Simpson,  New  Filmmaker  Program, 
Panavision,  6219  DeSoto  Ave.,  Woodland  Hills,  CA 
91367. 

SCRIPTS  WANTED  FOR  INDEPENDENT  FILM  ACTING 
CLASSES.  See  your  scenes  shot  on  real  locations  with  our 


actors  trained  specifically  for  Independent  films.  Use  this 
as  a  way  to  rewrite  your  scripts  &  scenes.  Send  to:  The 
Acting  Factory,  38  S.  Federal  Hwy,  Dania,  FL  33004. 

SOROS  DOCUMENTARY  FUND  supports  int'l  doc  films  & 
videos  on  current  &  significant  issues  in  human  rights, 
freedom  of  expression,  social  justice  &  civil  liberties.  2 
project  categories:  initial  seed  funds  (grants  up  to 
$15,000),  projects  in  production  or  post  (average  grant 
$25,000,  but  max.  $50,000).  Highly  competitive.  Contact: 
Soros  Doc  Fund,  Open  Society  Institute,  400  W.  59th  St., 
NY,  NY  10019;  (212)  548-0657;  www.soros.org/sdf 

STANDBY  PROGRAM  provides  artists  &  nonprofits  access 
to  broadcast  quality  video  postproduction  services  at  dis- 
counted rates.  For  rate  card  &  appl.  contact:  Standby 
Program,  Box  184,  NY,  NY  10012;  (212)  219-0951;  fax: 
219-0563;  www.standby.org 

THIRD  ANNUAL  CHICAGO  UNDERGROUND  FILM  FUND: 

$500-$2,000  postproduction  completion  grant  for  any 
length  &  genre  on  super  8,  16mm  or  35mm.  Emphasis 
placed  on  works  that  fit  CUFF's  mission  to  promote  films 
&  videos  that  innovate  in  form  or  content.  Deadline:  Feb. 
5.  Contact:  CUFF,  3109,  N.  Western  Ave.,  Chicago,  IL 
60618;  (773)  327-FILM;  info@cuff.org;  www.cuff.org 

WRITERS/PRODUCERS:  Faith  &  Values  Media  (provides 
30  hrs/wk  faith-based  shows  for  the  Odyssey  Network)  is 
granting  up  to  $300,000  in  awards  for  new 
scripts/series/proposals  on  women's  spiritual  journeys. 
Appls.  due  Feb.  28;  www.faithandvaluesmedia.com 


Got  DOCS?., 

We  are  looking  for  high-quality  documentaries  in  all  subject  areas  for  international 
broadcast  distribution.  CS  Associates  has  specialized  in  sales  and  pre-sales  of 
documentary  programs  for  the  past  twenty  years.  We  represent  a  wide  variety  of 
programs  and  producers  ranging  from  Ken  Burns  to  Jon  Else  to  Martin  Scorcese. 
We  would  like  to  hear  about  your  latest  production. 

Please  review  our  catalogue  on  our  website  www.csassociates.com 


22  Weston  Road,  Lincoln,  Massachusetts  01773 
tel:  78 1 .259.9988  fax:  78 1 .259.9966 
e-mail:  programs@csassociates.com 

Send  VHS  submissions  to  Brian  Gilbert,  Director  of  Acquisitions 


Final  Cut  Pro 

Nonlinear  Editing 

Beta  SP,  DV,  DVCAM, 
HiS",  3/4",  S-VHS 


1123  Broadway,  Suite  S14- 
New  York,    New  York  WOW 


www.earthvideo.net 

212-223-4-254 


January/Februar,    2001    THE    INDEPENDENT 


DEADLINE:  1ST  OF  EACH  MONTH,  2  MONTHS  PRIOR  TO 
COVER  DATE  (E.G.  MARCH  1  FOR  MAY  ISSUE).CONTACT: 
FAX:  212-463-8519;  scott@aivf.org.  PER  ISSUE  COST: 

0-240  CHARACTERS  (INCL.  SPACES  &  PUNCTUATION) 
$45  FOR  NONMEMBERS/$30  FOR  AIVF  MEMBERS 

241-360  CHARACTERS: 
$65  FOR  N0NMEMBERS/$45  FOR  AIVF  MEMBERS 

361-480  CHARACTERS: 
$80  FOR  NONMEMBERS/$60  FOR  AIVF  MEMBERS 

481-600  CHARACTERS: 
$95  FOR  NONMEMBERS/$75  FOR  AIVF  MEMBERS 

OVER  600  CHARACTERS: 
CALL  FOR  QUOTE:  212-807-1400  x.  229 

frequency  discount: 
$5  off  per  issue  for  ads  running  5  +  times. 

ads  over  specified  length  will  be  edited.  copy 
should  be  typed  &  accompanied  by  check  or 
money  order  payable  to:  fivf,  304  hudson  st., 
6th  fl,  new  york,  ny  10013.  include  billing 
address;  daytime  phone;  #  of  issues;  and  valid 
member  id#  for  member  discount.  to  pay  by  visa 
/mc/amex  incl.  card  #■  name  on  card;  exp  date. 

Buy*  Rent  •  Sell 

101  AVID  TRAINING  FOR  DUMMIES:  1-on-l  Avid  hands 
on  training.  Learn  Avid  editing  plus  create  own  logo  & 
demo  reel  in  1  class  for  only  $499!  ($799  for  2).  All-inclu- 
sive, a.m.  or  p.m.,  7  days/wk,  midtown  NYC.  Call  Pro  Avid 
101  Now:  (212)  695- 


A  BREAD  CRUMB  TRAIL  THROUGH  THE  PBS  JUNGLE: 

The  Producer's  Complete  Survival  Guide.  Vital  guide  to 
alliances,  funding  &  distrib.  for  your  films.  Used  by  PBS, 
CPB  &  stations  nationwide.  Inside  secrets,  in-depth  info, 
practical  worksheets.  $34.95  +  $5.00  S/H  (AIVF  mem- 
bers take  10%  off);  Dendrite  Forest  Books  on-line  pur- 
chase: www.forests.com/breadcrumb  or  RO.  Box  912, 
Topanga.  CA  90290. 

AVID  AVAILABLE  WITH  EDITOR:  Digital  Camera  package  & 
Avid  classes.  Good  prices.  Call  or  fax:  (212)  794-1982. 

AVID  OFF-LINE  FOR  RENT:  MC  7.1,  Powermac  9600,  33 
gigs  memory,  two  20"  Mitsubishi  monitors,  14"  Trinitron 
monitor,  16  Ch  Mackie  mixer.  Avid  tech  support.  Free  set 
up  in  NYC  area.  Call  Howard  (914)  271-4161. 

DP  W/  CANON  XL-1;  BETA-SP  DECK  RENTAL  avail.  I 
shoot  all  formats:  film/video.  Non-linear  editing  w/  all 
video  formats.  13  yrs  exp  w/  Academy  Award  nomination. 
Affordable  rates.  DMP  Productions  (212)  307-9097; 
http://members.tripod.com/~dmpfilm 

FOR  RENT:  SONY  3  CHIP  Digital  DV  camera  plus 
Sennheiser  ME  66  shotgun  mic,  with  or  without  operator. 
$100  per  day  without  operator.  Call  (212)  966-5489. 

FOR  SALE— AVID  MEDIA  COMPOSER  1000:  Ver  5.51, 

Mac  Quadra  950,  many  accessories,  $6,900,  pics  at: 
www.edgewoodstudios.com  or  call  David  (802)  773-0510. 

VIDEO  DECKS/EDIT  SYSTEMS/CAMERAS  FOR  RENT:  I 

deliver!  Beta-SP  deck  (Sony  UVW-1800)  $150/day,  $450/ 
wk.  Also,  1:1  Avid  Suite,  Final  Cut,  Media  100,  DV  Cams, 
mics,  lights,  etc.  Production  Central  (212)  631-0435. 

WANTED  TO  BUY:  Used  JK  optical  printer.  All  models  con- 
sidered. Everything  but  the  camera.  (301)  565-3730. 


Distribution 

19  YEARS  AS  AN  INDUSTRY  LEADER!  Representing  out- 
standing video  on  healthcare,  mental  health,  disabilities 
&  related  issues.  Our  films  win  Oscars,  Emmys,  Duponts, 
Freddies  &  more.  Join  us!  Fanlight  Productions:  (800) 
937-4113;  www.fanlight.com 

BROADCAST  YOUR  FILM  on  the  Internet! 
WhoneedsTV.com  is  currently  accepting  submissions  for 
independent  films.  Unlike  other  sites,  you  keep  all  the 
rights  and  control  over  your  film.  info@WhoneedsTV.com 
or  (917)  282-2857  for  details. 

BUDGETS/BUSINESS  PLANS:  Full  investor  packages. 
Experienced  line  producer  will  prepare  script  breakdowns, 
shooting  schedules,  detailed  budgets  &  business  plans. 
Movie  Magic  equipped.  Credit  cards  OK.  Indie  rates.  Mark 
(212)  340-1243. 

BUYINDIES.COM  The  founders  of  NewEnglandFilm.com 
have  created  another  site:  Buylndies.com,  a  community 
to  buy  &  sell  independent  films.  If  you  have  copies  of  your 
movie  available  on  VHS  or  DVD,  then  you  can  join  as  a 
seller  and  list  any  or  all  of  your  titles.  Buylndies.com  han- 
dles the  ecommerce,  customer  service  and  promotion; 
you  handle  the  shipping.  Filmmakers  keep  all  rights  to  the 
film.  Already  over  45,000  titles  have  been  gathered.  Find 
out  more  info  at:  www.buyindies.com/sell/  or  email: 
info@buyindies.com 

EDUCATIONAL  DISTRIBUTOR  SEEKS  GUIDANCE 
VIDEOS  on  issues  such  as  violence,  drug  prevention, 
mentoring,  children's  health  &  parenting  for  exclusive  dis- 
tribution. Our  marketing  gives  unequaled  results!  Call 
Sally  Germain  at  The  Bureau  for  At-Risk  Youth:  (800)  99- 
YOUTH  x.  210. 

LOOKING  FOR  AN  EDUCATIONAL  DISTRIBUTOR?  Consider 
the  University  of  California.  We  can  put  80  years  of  suc- 
cessful marketing  expertise  to  work  for  you.  Kate  Spohr: 
(510)  643-2788;  www-cmil.unex.berkeley.edu/media/ 

THE  CINEMA  GUILD,  leading  film/video/multimedia  dis- 
tributor, seeks  new  doc,  fiction,  educational  &  animation 
programs  for  distribution.  Send  videocassettes  or  discs 
for  evaluation  to:  The  Cinema  Guild,  130  Madison  Ave., 
2nd  fl.,  New  York,  NY  10016;  (212)  685-6242; 
TheCinemaG@  aol.com;  Ask  for  our  Distribution  Services 
brochure. 

Freelance 

35MM/16MM  PROD.  PKG  w/  DR  Complete  packagew/ 
DP's  own  Arri  35BL,  16SR,  HMIs,  dolly,  jib  crane,  lighting, 
DAT,  grip,  5-ton  truck. . .  more.  Ideal  1-source  for  the  low- 
budget  producer!  Call  for  reel:  Tom  Agnello  (201)  741- 
4367. 

AATON  CAMERA  PKG.  Absolutely  perfect  for  independent 
features.  Top  of  the  line  XTR  Prod  w/  S16,  timecode  video, 
the  works!  Exp  DP  w/  strong  lighting  &  prod  skills  wants 
to  collaborate  in  telling  your  story.  Andy  (212)  501-7862; 
circa@interport.net 

ACCLAIMED  AND  UNUSUAL  instrumental  band  can  pro- 
vide music  for  your  next  project.  Contact  "Magonia"  for 
demo:  (781)  932-4677;  boygirl@mediaone.net; 
www.magonia.com 


ACCOUNTANT/BOOKKEEPER/CONTROLLER:  Experience 
in  both  corporate  &  nonprofit  sectors.  Hold  MBA  in 
Marketing  &  Accounting.  Freelance  work  sought.  Sam 
Sagenkahn  (212)  481-3576. 

ANDREW  DUNN.  Director  of  Photography/camera  opera- 
tor Arri35  BL3,  Aaton  XTRprod  S16,  Sony  DVCam. 
Experience  in  features,  docs,  TV  &  industrials.  Credits: 
Dog  Run,  Strays,  Working  Space/Working  Light.  (212) 
477-0172;  AndrewD158@aol.com 

AWARD-WINNING  EDITOR,  w/Avid  and  Beta  SP  facility. 
Features,  shorts,  docs,  music  videos,  educational,  indus- 
trials, demos.  Trilingual:  Spanish,  English,  Catalan.  Nuria 
Olive-Belles  (212)  627-9256. 

BRENDAN  C.  FLYNT:  Director  of  Photography  w/  many 
feature  &  short  film  credits.  Owns  35  Arri  BL3,  Super 
16/16  Aaton,  HMIs,  Tungsten  &  dolly  w/ tracks.  Awards  at 
Sundance  &  Raindance.  Call  for  quotes  &  reel  at  (212) 
226-8417;  www.dp-brendanflynt.com 

CAMERAMAN/  STEADICAM  OPERATOR:  35BL,  16SR, 
Beta  SR  Stereo  TC  Nagra4,  TC  FostexPD-4  DAT,  feature 
lite  pkg.  to  shoot  features,  music  videos,  commercials, 
etc.  Call  Mik  Cribben  for  info  &  reel,  (212)  929-7728  or 
592-3350. 


CAMERAPERSON:  Visual  storyteller  loves  to  collaborate, 
explore  diverse  styles  &  formats.  Brings  passion  &  pro- 
ductivity to  your  shoot.  Award-winner  w/  latest 
Super/Std.  16  Aaton  XTR  prod,  package.  Todd  (718)  222- 
9277;  wacass@concentric.net 

CINEMATOGRAPHER  w/  Arri  SR  Super  16  package  & 
35IIC,  w/  over  15  years  in  the  industry.  Credits  incl.  2nd 
unit,  FX  &  experimental.  Looking  for  interesting  pro- 
jects. Will  travel.  Theo  (212)  774-4157;  pager:  (213) 
707-6195. 

CINEMATOGRAPHER  w/  reg/S-16mm  Aaton,  video-tap, 
lighting  gear  &  more.  Digital  video  too.  Collaborations  in 
features,  shorts,  docs,  music  videos  &  other  compelling 
visions.  Kevin  Skvorak,  reel  &  rates  (718)  782-9179; 
kevskvk@inx.net 

COMPOSER:  Experienced,  award-winning  Yale  conserva- 
tory grad  writes  affordable  music  in  any  style  that  will 
enhance  your  project.  Save  money  without  compromising 
creativity.  Full  service  digital  recording  studio.  Free  demo 
CD/initial  consultation/rough  sketch.  Call  Joseph  Ruben- 
stein;  (212)  242-2691;  joe56@earthlink.net 

COMPOSER  Miriam  Cutler  loves  to  collaborate  with  film- 
makers— features,  docs.  Sundance:  Licensed  To  Kill, 
Death  A  Love  Story  I  Peabody:  The  Castro  I POV-.  Double 
Life  of  Ernesto  Gomez  Gomez  &  more  (323)  664-1807; 
mircut2@earthlink.net 

COMPOSER:  Original  music  for  your  film  or  video  project. 
Will  work  with  any  budget.  Complete  digital  studio.  NYC 
area.  Demo  CD  upon  request.  Call  Ian  O'Brien:  (201)  222- 
2638;  iobrien@bellatlantic.net 

COMPOSER:  Perfect  music  for  your  project.  Orchestral  to 
techno — you  name  it!  Credits  incl.  NFL,  PBS,  Sundance, 
Absolut.  Bach,  of  Music,  Eastman  School.  Quentin 
Chiappetta  (718)  752-9194;  (917)  721-0058;  qchiap@ 
el.net 

CREATIVE  DIRECTOR  OF  PHOTOGRAPHY  w/  lighting 
director  background.  Specialty  films  my  specialty.  Can 


60     THE    INDEPENDENT     January/February  2001 


give  your  film  that  unique  "look."  16mm  &  35mm  pack- 
ages avail.  Call  Charles  for  reel:  (212)  295-7878. 

DIGITAL  VIDEO-Sony  VX100  digital  camera  &  camera- 
man, Sennheiser  ME  66  shotgun  mic,  pro  accessories. 
Experienced  in  dance,  theater,  performance  art  documen- 
tation &  features.  Final  Cut  Pro  digital  editing  with  editor 
$125/day.  John  Newell  (212)  677-6652;  johnewell® 
earthlink.net 

DIGITAL  VIDEO  Videographer/DR  with  Canon  XL-1  video- 
cam;  prefer  documentaries,  shorts  and  less  traditional 
projects;  documentation  for  dance,  music  and  perfor- 
mance. Alan  Roth  (718)  218-8065;  (917)  548-4512; 
alanroth@mail.com 

DIGITAL  VIDEOGRAPHER  with  Sony  VX-1000  and 
Lectrosonic  radio  mic.  available  and  happy  to  shoot  doc- 
umentaries and  shorts.  Contact  Melissa  (212)  352-4141; 
meliss@rcn.com 

DIRECTOR  OF  PHOTOGRAPHY:  Award-winning,  exp,  look- 
ing for  interesting  projects.  Credits  incl.  features,  docs  & 
commercials  in  the  U.S.,  Europe  &  Israel.  Own  complete 
Aaton  Super  16  pkg.  &  lights.  Call  Adam  for  reel.  (212) 
932-8255  or  (917)  504-7244;  nyvardy@worldnet.att.net 

DIRECTOR  OF  PHOTOGRAPHY:  Looking  for  creative  pro- 
jects to  lens:  features,  commercials,  shorts,  music  videos 
&  documentaries.  35  and  16mm  packages  avail.  New 
York/Boston-based,  will  travel.  Call  for  reel:  (781)  545- 
2609;  bkarol@mediaone.net 

DIRECTOR  OF  PHOTOGRAPHY  looking  for  interesting  fea- 
tures, shorts,  ind.  projects,  etc.  Credits  incl.  features, 
commercials,  industrials,  short  films,  music  videos. 
Aaton  16/S-16  pkg  avail.  Abe  (718)  263-0010. 

DIRECTOR  OF  PHOTOGRAPHY  w/  Arri  16  &  35BL2  cam- 
era pkgs.  Credits  incl.  many  indie  features  &  shorts. 
Create  "big  film"  look  on  low  budget.  Flexible  rates  &  I 
work  quickly.  Willing  to  travel.  Matthew:  (617)  244-6730; 
(845)  439-5459;  mwdp@rcn.com 

DIRECTOR  OF  PHOTOGRAPHY  with  Arri  BL  3,  Aaton  XTR 
Prod  S16/16mm,  and  Canon  XL1  camera  package  is 
ready  to  shoot  your  project.  Call  Jay  Silver  at  (718)  383- 
1325  for  a  copy  of  reel,  email:  hihosliver@earthlink.com 

DOCUMENTARY  VIDEOGRAPHER  with  extensive  interna- 
tional experience  (Latin  America,  Africa,  Europe  & 
Canada).  22  years  of  experience  as  director/producer, 
videographer  and  editor  of  independent  documentaries 
broadcast  on  CNN  International,  PBS,  Cinemax  &  CBC. 
Last  doc  premiered  at  Sundance  Festival.  Specializes  in 
cinema  verite,  social  issue  &  multicultural  projects. 
Robbie  Leppzer,  Turning  Tide  Productions;  (800)  557- 
6414;  leppzer@turningtide.com;  www.turningtide.com. 

DP  WITH  CAMERA:  Client  list,  package  details  (cameras 
and  editing),  view  clips/stills.  To  order  reel  or  contact, 
visit:  www.kozma.com 

DV  CONSULTANT:  Need  help  w/  Final  Cut  Pro?  Exp.  con- 
sultant avail,  for  training  in  FCR  AfterEffects,  Media 
Cleaner  Pro,  or  just  Mac  basics.  Former  Apple  tech  rep.  & 
working  filmmaker  in  NYC.  Discount  for  AIVF  members. 
Greg  (347)  731-3466. 

EDITOR  WITH  AVID.  Beta  SR  DVCam.  miniDV,  DAT,  3/4", 
AfterEffects,  Commotion,  etc.  Experienced  with  features, 
documentaries,  broadcast,  industrials  &  short  form  mate- 


Everything 
included. 

Avid  Media 

Composer  Off-line 

at  rates  the  artist 

can  afford. 


kitchen 


Y     N 


225  Lafayette,  suite  1113,  Soho 
Tel:  (516)  810-7238  •  Fax  (516)  421-6923 


DeWITT  STERN  GROUP,  Inc. 

CELEBRATING 
100  YEARS  ! 

ENTERTAINMENT  &  MEDIA 
INSURANCE 

420  Lexington  Ave.  New  York,  NY 
Tel:  212-867-3550  Fax:  212-949-4435 


Carol  A.  Bressi  Cilona 

Senior  Vice  President 

212-297-1468 

Jennifer  Brown 

Assistant  Vice  President 

212-297-1445 


Colorlab  has  what  it  takes  to  get  your 
video  dailies  back  in  half  the  time. 

Thanks  to  the  addition  of  a  third  Rank  suite,  as  well  as  a  second 
audio  station,  Colorlab  offers  its  clients  video  dailies  in  half  the 
time  it  takes  for  most  labs.  With  our  six  eolorists,  we  have  the 
personnel  to  continue  to  give  independent  filmmakers  the  same 
attentive  service  that  all  of  our  clients  have  come  to  expect. 


mth 


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waiting  for  dailies, 

spend  it  watching  them. 

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uiuiui.colorlob.com 

27  W  20th  St. 

New  York,  NY  10011 

ph  212.633.8172 

fx  212.633.8241 

5708  Arundel  Ave. 

Rockville,  MD  20852 

ph  301.770.2128 

fx  301.816.0798 


January/February  2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      61 


(S 


- 


AVIDS  TO  GO 


Luna  delivers. 


t 


««« 


in  your  home  or  office 

long  term  //  short  term  rentals 
the  most  cost-effective  way  to  cut  your  indie  film 


PICTURES 


212  255  2564 


WliHiMMiM 


rial;  commercial  to  avant-garde.  Convenient  East  Village 
location  with  windows!  $350/day,  $50/hr.  (212)  228- 
1914;  www.detournyc.com 

EDITOR  WITH  AVID:  Conscientious  advocate  of  the  Invisible 
Cut.  Comfy  West  Village  space.  AVR77, 216  gigs,  Beta,  VHS, 
DV  MC/Visa.  Bill  G.  (212)  243-1343;  gcomvid@usa.net 

ENTERTAINMENT  ATTORNEY:  frequent  contributor  to 
"Legal  Brief"  columns  in  The  Independent  &  other  mag- 
azines, offers  legal  services  to  film  &  video  community  on 
projects  from  development  thru  distribution.  Contact 
Robert  LSeigel,  Esq..  (212)  333-7000. 

EXPERIENCED  CINEMATOGRAPHER  with  crew  &  equip- 
ment; 16mm  &  35mm.  Short  films  &  features.  Vincent 
(212)779-1441. 

FREELANCE  VIDEO  EDITOR  specializing  in  nonlinear  digi- 
tal editing  (DV).  Good  Rates.  (212)  567-9377  schafer® 
taoproductions.com;  www.taoproductions.com;  "To  a  mind 
that  is  still,  the  whole  Universe  surrenders" — Lau  Tzu. 

GRANTWRITING/FUNDRAISING:  Research,  writing  & 
strategy  (for  production,  distribution,  exhibition,  &  educa- 
tional projects  of  media).  Successful  proposals  to  NYSCA, 
NEA,  NEH,  ITVS,  Soros  Foundation,  Rockefeller 
Foundation,  Lila  Acheson  Wallace  Foundation.  Fast  writ- 
ers, reasonable  rates.  Wanda  Bershen,  (212)  598-0224; 
www.reddiaper.com;  or  Geri  Thomas  (212)  625-2011; 
www.artstaffing.com 

INDEPENDENT  PRODUCTION  COMPANY:  Providing  ser- 
vices for  independent  filmmakers,  incl.  all  the  crew  &  equip- 
ment needed.  We  also  help  you  with  locations,  craft  ser- 
vices, wardrobe,  transportation,  etc. . .  basically  everything 
that  goes  on  behind  the  camera.  We  specialize  in  indepen- 
dent filmmaking:  features,  shorts,  music  videos.  Will  con- 
sider any  budget.  Contact  Vadim  Epstein  (917)  921-4646. 

JOHN  BASKO:  Documentary  cameraman  w/  extensive 
international  Network  experience.  Civil  wars  in  Kosovo, 
Beirut,  El  Salvador,  Nicaragua,  Tiananmen  Square  stu- 
dent uprising.  Equipment  maintained  by  Sony.  (718)  278- 
7869;  fax:  278-6830;  Johnbasko@icnt.net 

LOCATION  SOUND:  Over  20  yrs  sound  exp.  w/  timecode 
Nagra  &  DAT,  quality  mics.  Reduced  rates  for  low-budget 
projects.  Harvey  &  Fred  Edwards,  (518)  677-5720; 
edfilms@worldnet.att.net 

PRODUCTION  TEAM:  Providing  services  ranging  from 
budget  preparation  to  postproduction  supervision.  Help 
for  your  feature,  short,  video  or  commercial.  Reduced 
rates  for  low-budget  projects.  A.L.  Films:  (718)  322- 
3202;  info@legitfilms.com 

WEB  DESIGNER  creates  your  homepage.  Reasonable 
rates.  Also  web  maintenance.  (212)  226-1526;  rlp@ 
csi.com;  http://rlp.homepage.com 

Opportunities  •  Gigs 

ASSISTANT  PROFESSOR  WANTED:  Tenure  track  position 
in  filmmaking,  Aug.  2001.  Qualifications:  Thorough  work- 
ing knowledge  of  all  aspects  of  making  the  short  film;  MFA; 
significant  recognition;  teaching  experience.  Duties:  Teach 
3  courses;  check  out  equip.  &  maintain  labs;  direct  grad- 
uate students;  advising;  committees.  Salary  commensu- 
rate w/  experience.  Submit  cover  letter,  statement  of 
teaching  philosophy,  curriculum  vitae,  list  of  3  references, 


sample  of  film  work  on  VHS  format,  before  Jan.  30,  2001, 
to:  Joan  Strommer,  Search  Committee,  Photography/Film 
Dept,  Virginia  Commonwealth  Univ.,  325  N.  Harrison  St., 
Richmond,  VA  23284;  jstromme@  atlas.vcu.edu;  VCU  is 
an  EO/AA  employer.  Women,  minorities  &  persons  w/  dis- 
abilities are  encouraged  to  apply. 

DOCUMENTARY  TELEVISION  COMPANY  seeks  interns. 
Beginning  in  late  January,  for  three  months.  We  produce 
travel,  historic,  health-related,  and  other  series.  Fax  letter 
and  resume  to:  (212)  647-0940.  attention:  Production. 

EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR:  The  Independent  Television 
Service  (ITVS)  seeks  visionary  executive  to  lead  dynamic 
organization  bringing  independently  produced  work  to 
public  television.  For  details,  see  display  ad,  page  17. 

MANHATTAN-BASED  PRODUCTION  COMPANY  seeks 

experienced  producers,  associate  producers  &  re- 
searchers for  history,  travel,  and  health  documentaries. 
Please  fax  letter  and  resume  to  (212)  647-0940;  atten- 
tion: office  coordinator. 

POSITION  OPEN:  Montana  State  Univ.,  Bozeman,  Dept.  of 
Media  &  Theater  Arts.  M.FA  program  in  Science  &  Natural 
History  Filmmaking.  This  position  is  non  tenure-track. 
$34,000/9  months  start  Aug.  16,  2001.  Will  teach  pro- 
duction courses  to  10-12  graduate  students  covering  all 
aspects  of  documentary  prod'n.  Req:  Ph.D.  or  M.F.A  in 
Motion  Picture/Video  Production  or  related  field  (appli- 
cants who  have  been  recognized  at  a  nat'l/int'l  level  as 
having  exceptional  accomplishments  in  this  field  but  lack 
the  advanced  degree  MAY  be  considered,  provided  they 
submit  documentation).  Screening  begins  Feb.  1,  2001. 
See  full  announcement  &  instructions  at:  www.mon- 
tana.edu/  msuinfo/jobs/  faculty  or  contact  Jean  Tabbert, 
MT  State  Univ.,  Box  174120  Bozeman,  MT  59717;  jtab- 
bert@montana.edu;  (406)  994-5884;  fax:  994-4591. 
ADA/EOE/AA/VetPref 

SEEKING  INSTRUCTORS:  Seattle  Central  Community 
College's  Film  &  Video  Communications  program  seeks  full- 
time  &/or  part-time  instructors  to  teach  advanced,  2nd-yr 
students  single  &  multiple-camera  TV  production,  directing 
for  film  &  TV,  postproduction  for  film  &  video,  and  produc- 
tion management  &  budgeting.  Positions  req.  serving  as 
faculty  advisor  for  student  portfolio  projects.  Duties  incl. 
collaborating  w/  the  Assoc.  Dean,  program  faculty  & 
Advisory  Committee  to  keep  program  current  w/  industry 
standards  &  developments.  Min.  Qualifications:  Bachelor's 
degree  in  Film,  TV,  Comm.  or  related  discipline,  plus  5  years 
of  full-time,  relevant  pro  exp.  Teaching  exp.  in  post-sec- 
ondary education  w/  documented  exp.  in  curriculum  design 
&  development.  Strong  computer  skills  related  to  the  film  & 
video  industry.  Strong  conceptual,  creative  &  technical 
skills  in  production  &  postproduction.  Knowledge  of  produc- 
tion management,  operations,  budgeting,  and  union  &  guild 
regs.  Solid  foundation  in  all  creative  &  technical  aspects  of 
the  production  process  &  a  high  degree  of  achievement  as 
a  visual  communicator.  For  open  positions  &  appl.  dead- 
lines, contact:  Dr.  John  McMahon,  Assoc.  Dean,  Comm.  & 
Design  Division,  SCCC,  1701  Broadway  Rm.  3176.  Seattle. 
WA  98122;  (206)  344-4340;  jmcmah@sccd.ctc.edu 


SAVE  ON  CLASSIFIEDS. 

Check  out  our  new  frequency  discounts 

&  reduced  rates  for  AIVF  members. 


62     THE    INDEPENDENT     January/February  2001 


WELL-ESTABLISHED  freelance  camera  group  in  NYC 
seeking  professional  cameramen  and  soundmen  w/  solid 
Betacam  video  experience  to  work  w/  our  wide  array  of 
clients.  If  qualified  contact  COA  at  (212)  505-1911.  Must 
have  video  samples/reel. 

Preproduction  •  Development 

SCREENPLAY  WANTED;  Connected  prod.  co.  looking  for 
innovative  indie  screenplay.  Edgy  drama,  music,  comedy 
or  sci-fi  themes.  Credits  incl.  MTV  Award,  Star  Trek  TNG, 
Bravo,  IFC  &  many  others.  Send  treatments  only  &  phone 
number  to:  mtc3000@rcn.com 

SCRIPTS  WANTED;  Producer  with  complete  Sony  High 
Definition  24P  facility  seeks  profitable  projects  to  produce 
or  co-produce.  Feature  films,  episodic  television  or  docu- 
mentaries. Contact  Derek  at  (212)  868-0028  for  details; 
www.allinone-usa.com 

SU-CITY  PICTURES:  The  Screenplay  Doctor,  The  Movie 
Mechanic:  We  provide  screenplay/treatment/synopsis/ 
films-in-progress  insight/analysis.  Studio  credentials 
include:  Miramax  &  Warner  Bros.  Competitive  rates. 
Brochure:  (212)  219-9224;  www.su-city-pictures.com 

POSTPRODUCTION 

16MM  CUTTING  ROOMS:  8-plate  &  6-plate  fully 
equipped  rooms,  sound-transfer  facilities,  24-hr  access. 
Downtown,  near  all  subways  &  Canal  St.  Reasonable 
rates.  (212)  925-1500. 

16MM  SOUND  MIX  only  $100/hr.  Interlocked  16mm  pic- 
ture &  tracks  mixed  to  16  or  35mm  fullcoat.  16mm/35mm 


post  services:  picture  &  sound  editorial,  ADR,  interlock 
screening,  16mm  mag  xfers  (,06/ft),  16mm  edgecoding 
(.015/ft).  Call  Tom  (201)  741-4367. 

AVID  EDITOR;  18  feature  films,  theatrical  trailers. 
Additional  credits  with:  TV,  short  films,  industrial,  promos. 
Fast,  creative,  technical,  friendly.  Fully  equipped  suite  in 
prestigious  downtown  location.  Credit  cards  accepted. 
Drina  (212)  561-0829. 

BRODSKY  &  TREADWAY  Film-to-tape  masters.  Reversal 
only.  Regular  8mm,  super  8,  or  archival  16mm.  We  love 
early  B&W  &  Kodachrome.  Scene-by-scene  only.  Correct 
frame  rates.  For  appt.  call  (978)  948-7985. 

DVD  AUTHORING:  Full  DVD  project  management.  Spruce 
system,  compression,  encoding,  menu  creation,  authoring 
and  replication  for  your  film.  We  are  nice  people  and  we 
have  very  reasonable  pricing.  (212)  563-4589;  245  W.  29 
St.,  NY  NY  10001. 

EDIT/SHOOT  IN  SAN  DIEGO:  Discreet  Edit  5.0  non-linear 
system.  90  gigs  memory,  component  Beta,  DV,  S-VHS. 
Betacam  &  DV  field  pkg.  Sony  D-30/PW3  &VX2000.  Full 
audio,  graphics,  etc.  Low  rates.  Call  (800)  497-1109; 
www.peteroliver.com 

FINAL  CUT  PRO:  Rent  a  private  edit  suite  in  financial  dis- 
trict w/  24  hr  access.  12  hrs  b'cast  quality  storage, 
Photoshop,  AfterEffects.  Also,  rent  b'cast  quality  DV  hid- 
den camera  pkg:  $250/day.  Jonathan,  Mint  Leaf  Prods: 
(212)  952-0121  X.  229. 

MEDIA  100  EDITING  Broadcast  quality,  newest  software. 
Huge  storage  &  RAM.  Betacam,  3/4",  all  DV  formats,  S- 
VHS,  Hi-8. .  .  Great  location,  friendly  environment  &  low 
rates,  tech  support,  talented  editors  &  fx  artists  available: 


(212)  868-0028. 


We're  a  one  stop  digital  video  house 

with  camcorders,  cranes,  lighting  units 

&  Discreet  Edit  Suite. 


Hello  World  Communications 

118  West  22nd   Street     MYC    1001  1 

212.243-8800     fax691-6961 


MEDIA  100  EDITOR/POSTPRODUCTION  SUPERVISOR: 

Eight  years  cutting  docs  for  broadcast,  PBS.  Excellent 
refs.  Linda  Peckham  (718)  398-3655. 

PRODUCER  WITH  PRODUCTION  OFFICE  looking  for  low 
budget  features  to  produce  in  New  York.  Will  provide  bud- 
geting/scheduling, production  personnel.  Video,  shorts 
and  feature  experience.  Call  Val  at  (212)  295-7878  or 
zelda212@netscape.net 

PRODUCTION  OFFICE:  West  85th  in  NYC,  fully  wired  all 
office  equip,  Beta,  3/4"  dubbing,  animation.  Avid  room  as 
needed.  Short-  or  long-term.  Dana  (212)  501-7878  x.  222. 

PRODUCTION  TRANSCRIPTS:  Verbatim  transcripts  for 
documentaries,  journalists,  etc.  Low  prices  &  flat  rates 
based  on  tape  length.  A  standard  1  hr,  1-on-l  interview 
is  only  $70.  www.productiontranscripts.com  for  details  or 
call:  (888)  349-3022. 


PROFESSIONAL  VIDEO  COMPRESSION  for  presenting 
work  over  the  Internet.  Years  of  experience  &  clients  incl. 
film  festivals  &  independent  filmmakers.  Discount  for  AIVF 
members.  Contact:  compression@randomroom.com; 
www.randomroom.com/compression 

TWO  CHEAP  AVIDS!  Great  rental  prices.  Media  Composer 
XL1000,  Chelsea  location:  (212)  242-3005.  Avid  400  5.5, 
Beta  Deck,  36GB,  Upper  West  Side:  (212)  579-4294. 

UNCOMPRESSED  AVID  MEDIA  COMPOSER:  Fastest  Avid 
on  the  block!  A  comfortable  large  room  with  all  the  ameni- 
ties. Blue  Ice  board,  After  Effects,  Photoshop,  Illustrator, 
digital  audio  board,  video  projector,  too.  Production 
Central  (212)  631-0435. 


PRODUCTION    POSTPRODUCTION    DUPLICATION 


DVD  Independent  Special 

includes  encoding,  authoring  &  one  disc 

1 5  min.  -  $800      30  min.  -  $1 200 
60min. -$1750     90  min.  -  $2000 


Media  100  Editing 

Production  Packages 

Video  Duplication 

Transfers  &  Conversions 


Film  Festival  Duplication  Special 


20  VHS  Tapes 

w/sleeves  &  labels 

Independents 

Only 


January  February    200]    THE    INDEPENDENT 


www.aivf.org 


frorn  the  director 

My  most  vivid  memory  of  last  year's 
Sundance  festival  is  of  the  audience 
response  to  James  Benning's  exquisite  doc- 
umentary, El  Valley  Centre  Very  few  view- 
ers left  the  theater  while  the  film  ran — 
which  can  be  rare  for  a  Frontier  Program 
selection — and  as  the  lights  came  up,  they 
seemed  palpably  awestruck.  The  questions 
that  ensued  indicated  that  most  viewers 
were  previously  unfamiliar  with  Benning 
and  his  work.  After  expressing  their  admi- 
ration, audience  members  got  hung  up  on, 
"...but  how  can  you  get  distribution?" 
They  seemed  thunderstruck  by  the  idea 
that  a  filmmaker  would  attend  Sundance 
for  reasons  other  than  making  a  sale. 
Which  hearkened  back  to  Redford's  open- 
ing night  plea  to  remember  that  "it's  all 
about  the  films,  about  how  through  syner- 
gy something  wonderful  and  new  can  hap- 
pen;" a  point  that  can  be  "lost  in  the  swim 
of  hype." 

Benning's  screening  was  an  end,  not  a 
means.  At  the  same  time,  any  screening 
can  (and  should)  open  up  new  possibili- 
ties, for  the  audience  as  well  as  the  maker. 


reach.  ATVTF 

FILMMAKERS'  RESOURCE  LIBRARY 
HOURS:  TUES.-FRI.  11-6;  WED.  11-9 

The  AIVF  office  is  located  at  304  Hudson  St. 

(between  Spring  &  Vandam)  6th  fl.,  in  New  York 

City.  Subways:  1,  9  (Houston  St.);  C,  E  (Spring 

St.);  A  (Canal  St.).  Our  Filmmakers'  Resource 

Library  houses  hundreds  of  print  and  electronic 

resources — from  essential  directories  and  trade 

magazines  to  sample  proposals  and  budgets. 

BY  PHONE:  212-807-1400 

Recorded  information  available  24/7; 
operator  on  duty  Tues-Fri  2-5pm  est. 

BY  INTERNET:  WWW.aivf.org 

info@aivf.org 


This  is  what  seems  too  often  to  be  lost  in 
the  indewood  "hype." 

AIVF  is  proud  to  hype  those  film  and 
videomakers  that  are  resolutely  indepen- 
dent; those  that  make  work  first  for  pas- 
sion, not  profit,  and  distribute  by  any 
means  necessary.  We  hope  that  in  2001 
even  more  of  these  artists  will  have  the 
opportunity  to  screen  their  work  for  audi- 
ences, and  thereby  spark  new  possibilities. 

—  Elizabeth  Peters 

January 

MEET  &  GREET: 
ATOM  FILMS 

Wlien:  Thurs.,  January  11,  6:30-8:30  p.m. 
Cost:  Free/AIVF  members; 
$10/general  public 
FE1/RSVP-.  212-807-1400  x.  301 

Atom  is  a  new  kind  of  entertainment  com- 
pany that  acquires  the  best  short  films  and 
animations  through  top  festivals,  film 
schools,  and  submissions  from  all  over  the 
world.  They  market  them  to  hundreds  of 
partners  in  traditional  distribution,  like 
TV  and  airlines,  and  new  platforms  like 
wireless  and  even  palm  pilots. 

They  are  seeking  shorts  of  all  sizes  and 
all  genres,  which  "should  have  a  begin- 
ning, middle,  and  end — but  not  necessari- 
ly in  that  order."  Megan  O'Neill,  VP  of 
Artist  Relations;  Patrick  Long,  Acqui- 
sitions Executive;  and  others  from  the 
Atom  New  York  office  will  attend  and 
answer  all  your  questions./ 

AIVF  AT  SUNDANCE  2001 
HOUSE  OF  DOCS 

When:  January  18-28 
FFI:  www.sundance.org 

House  of  Docs  was  designed  to  cultivate 
dialogue  between  established  and  emerg- 
ing nonfiction  filmmakers,  industry  lead- 
ers, and  the  public.  This  second  year  of 


House  of  Docs  will  be  presented  during 
the  entirety  of  the  Sundance  Film  Festival 
(January  18-28)  and  will  offer  informative 
panels,  discussions,  and  resources,  as  well 
as  a  great  place  to  hang  out  with  your  non- 
fiction  fellows! 

THE  CLERMONT-FERRAND 
SHORT  FILM  FESTIVAL 

Wlien:  January  26-February  3 
FFI:  www.clermont-filmfest.com 

AIVF  is  happy  to  co-sponsor  this  major 
international  festival  that  provides  a  spec- 
tacular view  of  worldwide  cinematograph- 
ic creation.  Clermont  includes  the 
International  Festival,  featuring  over  70 
shorts  from  50  countries;  the  National 
Festival  screens  about  70  French  films;  a 
variety  of  programs  and  retrospectives 
cover  subjects  from  a  Chris  Marker  Tribute 
to  a  sidebar  of  Fetish  Films.  Meanwhile, 
the  parallel  Short  Film  Market  will  present 
over  3000  shorts  to  potential  buyers.  For 
further  information,  visit  www.clermont- 
filmfest.com. 

February 


IN  BRIEF: 

TAXES  FOR 

INDEPENDENTS 


When:  Tues.,  February  6,  6:30-8:30  p.m. 

Cost:  $10/AIVF  members; 

$20/nonmembers 

FFI/RSVP:  212-807-1400  x.  301 

Join  CPAs  Martin  Bell  (Bell  &  Co)  and 
Steve  Cooperberg  (Todres  &  Rubin)  in  a 
discussion  ot  filing  your  taxes  as  an  inde- 
pendent contractor  or  a  small  business. 
Members  are  encouraged  to  bring  their 
specific  concerns.  Both  CPAs  are  partici- 
pants in  the  AIVF  Trade  Discount 
Program  and  offer  discounts  to  members 
on  a  year-round  basis.  Here  is  your  chance 
to  forge  new  relationships! 


64     THE    INDEPENDENT     January/February  2001 


THE  ASSOCIATION  OF  INDEPENDENT 

VIDEO   AND   FILMMAKERS 


About  AIVF  and  FIVF 

Offering  support  for  individuals  and 
advocacy  for  the  media  arts  field, 
The  Association  of  Independent  Video 
and  Filmmakers  (AIVF)  is  a  national 
membership  organization  of  over 
3,000  diverse,  committed  opinionated 
and  fiercely  independent  film-  and 
videomakers.  AIVF  partners  with  the 
Foundation  for  Independent  Video 
and  Film  (FIVF),  a  501(c)(3)  nonprofit 
offering  a  broad  slate  of  education 
and  information  programs. 

To  succeed  as  an  independent  you 
I  need  a  wealth  of  resources,  strong 
i  connections,  and  the  best  information 
available.  Whether  through  the  pages 
of  our  magazine.  The  Independent 
Film  8r  Video  Monthly,  or  through 
the  organization  raising  its  collective 
voice  to  advocate  for  important 
issues,  ATVF  preserves  your 
independence  while  reminding  you 
you're  not  alone. 

Here's  what  AIVF 
membership  offers: 


1 1 
ih  7 


J  FILM  &  VIDEO  MONTHLY 


"We  Love  This  Magazine!!" 
-UTNE  Reader- 
Membership  provides  you  with  a 
year's  subscription  to  The  Independent 
Thought-provoking  features,  profiles, 
news,  and  regular  columns  on 
business,  technical,  and  legal  matters. 
Plus  the  field's  best  source  of 
festival    listings,    funding    deadlines, 


exhibition  venues,  and  announcements 
of  member  activities  and  services. 
Special  issues  highlight  subjects 
including  experimental  media,  new 
technologies,  regional  activity,  and 
non-fiction  work.  Business  and  non- 
profit members  receive  discounts  on 
advertising  as  well  as  special 
mention  in  each  issue. 

INFORMATION 

FIVF  publishes  a  series  of  practical 
resource  books  on  international 
festivals,  distribution,  and  exhibition 
venues,  offered  at  discount  prices  to 
members  (see  the  other  part  of  this 
insert  for  a  list). 

Our  New  York  City  Filmmaker 
Resource  Library  houses  information 
on  everything  from  preproduction  to 
sample  contracts,  tailored  to  the 
needs  of  the  independent  producer. 
We  also  provide  information 
referrals,  answering  hundreds  of 
calls  and  e-mails  each  week! 

WWWANF.ORG 
Stay  connected  through  www.aivf.org 
featuring  the  lowdown  on  AIVF 
services,  resource  listings  and  links, 
web-original  articles,  advocacy 
information,  and  discussion  areas. 
Special  on-line  services  for  members 
include  distributor  and  funder 
profiles  and  archives  of  The 
Independent  -  much  more  to  come! 

INSURANCE 

Members  are  eligible  to  purchase 
group  insurance  plans  through  AIVF 
suppliers,  including  health  insurance 
and  production  plans  tailored  to  the 
needs  of  low-budget  mediamakers. 


TRADE  DISCOUNTS 

Businesses  across  the  country  offer 
AIVF  members  discounts  on  equipment 
and  auto  rentals,  stock  and  expendibles, 
film  processing,  transfers,  editing, 
shipping,  and  other  production 
necessities.  Members  also  receive 
discounts  on  purchases  of  the  AIVF 
mailing  list  and  classified  ads  in  The 
Independent 

WORKSHOPS  8c  EVENTS 

Special  events  covering  the  whole 
spectrum  of  current  issues  and 
concerns  affecting  the  field,  ranging 
from  business  and  aesthetic  to 
technical  and  political  topics. 

COMMUNITY 

AIVF  Regional  Salons  are  based  in 
cities  across  the  country.  These 
member-organized  member-run  get- 
togethers  provide  a  unique 
opportunity  to  network  exhibit,  and 
advocate  for  independent  media  in 
local  communities.  To  find  the  salon 
nearest  you,  check  The  Independent 
or  visit  the  Regional  Salon  section  of 
the  AIVF  website. 

ADVOCACY 

Since  AIVF  members  first  gathered 
over  25  years  ago,  AIVF  has  been 
consistently  outspoken  in  its  efforts 
to  preserve  the  resources  and  rights 
of  independent  mediamakers,  as  well 
as  to  keep  the  public  abreast  of  the 
latest  issues  concerning  our  field. 
Members  receive  periodic  advocacy 
alerts,  information  on  current  issues 
and  public  policy,  and  the 
opportunity  to  add  their  voice  to 
collective  actions. 


MEMBERSHIP  CATEGORIES 

INDIVIDUAL/STUDENT  MEMBERSHIP 

Includes:  one  year's  subscription  to  The  Independent  •   access  to  group  insurance  plans   •   discounts 

on  goods  and  services  from  national  Trade  Partners  •  online  and  over-the-phone  information  services  ] 

•   discounted  admission  to  seminars,  screenings,  and  events  •  book  discounts   •  classifieds  discounts  •  j 

advocacy  action  alerts  •  eligibility  to  vote  and  run  for  board  of  directors  •  members-only  web  services  j 

DUAL  MEMBERSHIP 

All  of  the  above  benefits  extended  to  two  members  of  the  same  household  except  for  the  year's 

subscription  to  The  Independent  which  is  shared  by  both 

BUSINESS  8r  INDUSTRY/NON-PROFIT  ORGANIZATION  MEMBERSHIP 
All  the  above  benefits  (except  access  to  insurance  plans)  •  option  to  request  up  to  3  one-year 
subscriptions  to  The  Independent  •  representative  may  vote  and  run  for  board  of  directors  • 
discounts  on  display  advertising  •  special  mention  in  each  issue  of  The  Independent. 


LIBRARY/UNIVERSITY  SUBSCRIPTION 

Year's  subscription  to  The  Independent  for  multiple  readers. 


JOIN  AIVF  TOPAY! 


MEMBERSHIP  RATES 

Individual  □  $55/1  yr.  □  $100/2  yrs. 

Dual  □  $95/1  yr.  □  $150/2  yrs. 

Student  I I   $35/1  yr.  (enclose  copy  of  current  student  ID) 

Business  &•  Industry  □  $150/1  yr. 

Non-profit  Organization  D  $100/1  yr. 
SUBSCRIPTION  RATE 

Library/School  □  $75/1  yr. 


Name 


For  Dual:  2nd  name 

Organization 

Address 


City_ 
State 


ZIP 


Weekday  teL 
Email 


Country 
fax 


MAILING  RATES 

Magazines  are  mailed  second-class  in  the  U.S. 

□  First-class  U.S.  mailing  -  add  $30 

□  Canada  -  add  $15 

□  Mexico  -  add  $20 

□  All  other  countries  -  add  $45 


*  Your  additional,  tax-deductible  contribution  will  help 
support  the  educational  programs  of  the  Foundation  for 
Independent  Video  and  Film,  a  public  501(c)(3)  organization 


\ 


Membership  cost 

Mailing  costs  (if  applicable) 

Additional  tax-deductible  contribution  to  FIV 

Total  amount  enclosed  (check  or  money  orde 

IZI  I've  enclosed  a  check  or  MO  payable  to  AIVF 

Please  bill  my   CD  Visa      CH  Mastercard      Q  AmJ 

Acct  # 

Exp.  date:        /        / 

Signature 


• 


Mail  to  AIVF,  304  Hudson  St,  6th  fl,  NY,  NY  10013;  or  charge  by  phone  (212)  £07-1400  x  236,  by  fax 
(212)  463-5519,  or  via  our  website  www.aivf.org.  Your  first  issue  of  The  Independent  will  arrive  in  4-6  weeks. 


» 


MEET  &  GREET: 
THE  JEROME  FOUNDATION 

When:  t.b.a 

Cost:  free/AIVF  members;  $10  gen.  public 

FFI/RSVP:  212-807-1400  x.  301 

The  Jerome  Foundation  makes  grants  to 
support  the  creation  and  production  of  new 
artistic  works  by  emerging  artists,  and  con- 
tributes to  the  professional  advancement 
of  those  artists.  Grantmaking  decisions 
reflect  the  foundation's  belief  in  the  vigor- 
ous and  distinctive  voices  of  artists  whose 
works  challenge  our  thinking  and  add 
meaning  to  our  lives.  Jerome  welcomes 
work  that  embodies  a  celebration  of  and 
respect  for  diverse  cultural  perspectives.  In 
its  focus  on  emerging  artists,  the  foundation 
seeks  to  encourage  the  potential  for  inno- 
vation and  excellence.  Program  Officer 
Robert  Byrd  will  discuss  Jerome's  funding 
program  and  answer  your  questions  about 
putting  forth  a  strong  application. 

DOCUMENTARY  DIALOGUES 

When:  Tues.,  February  20,  6:30-8:30  p.m. 
Wine  &  Goldfish  reception  follows! 
Cost:  $5  AIVF  members 
FFI/RSVP:  212-807-1400  x.  301 

Documentary  Dialogues  is  a  bi-monthly 
discussion  group  comprised  of  AIVF  non- 
fiction  filmmakers.  Topics  encompass  the- 
oretical and  philosophical  perspectives 
and  approaches  to  independent  film-  and 
videomaking.  For  further  information  on 
this  month's  program,  call  the  events  hot- 
line or  visit  www.aivf.org 

AIVF  CO-SPONSORS: 

SELECT  SCREENINGS  PRESENTED  BY 

THE  FILM  SOCIETY  OF  LINCOLN  CENTER 

AIVF  members  may  attend  specific  films 
for  just  $5  per  ticket!  Please  show  mem- 
bership card  at  box  office.  For  program 
info,  contact  the  Film  Society  box  office  at 
(212)  875-5600  or  www.filmlinc.com 

Jan.  5-11:  Jean-Luc  Godard's  Weekend 

&  Keep  Up  Your  Right 
Jan.  12-13,  19-20:  Dance  on  Camera  Festival 
Jan.  14-25:  New  York  Jewish  Film  Festival 
Jan.  26-Feb.  1 :  Emmanuel  Finkiel  Voyages 
Feb.  2-8:  Elem  Klimov's  Come  and  See 
Feb.  9-15:  Animation  of  Chuck  Jones 
Feb.  16-22:  Slovak  Cinema 
Feb.  23-March  8:  New  Chinese  Cinema 


Looking  for  a  Distributor? 


The  University  of  California  Extension  is  a  leading  educational  distributor, 

with  85  years  of  experience  selling  to  universities,  schools,  libraries, 

health  organizations,  and  other  institutions  worldwide. 

If  your  new  work  is  ready  for  distribution,  give  us  a  call. 
University  of  California  Extension 


510-643-2788    cmil@uclink.berkeley.edu 

http://www-cmil.unex.berkeley.edu/media/ 


^   TOTAL   POST  SOLUTIONS 

INDEPENDENT 

DIGITAL 


*  on  time 


ik  on  budget 
^      it  on  quality 


http://www.indidigital.com 


310-581-8800 


January/February  2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      65 


The  AIVF  Regional  Salons  provide  an  opportunity  for 
members  to  discuss  work,  meet  other  independents, 
share  war  stories,  and  connect  with  the  AIVF  commu- 
nity across  the  country.  Visit  the  salons  section  at 
www.aivf.org  for  more  info.  Be  sure  to  contact  your 
local  Salon  Leader  to  confirm  date,  time,  and  loca- 
tion of  the  next  meeting! 

Albany,  NY: 

When:  First  Wed.  of  each  month,  6:30  pm 

Where:  Borders  Books  6k  Music,  Wolf  Rd. 

Contact:  Mike  Camoin  (518)  489-2083; 

mikefu'videosforchange.com 

Austin,  TX: 

Contact:  Austin  Film  Society  (512)  322-0145; 
afs(§'austinfilm.org 

Atlanta,  GA: 

When:  Second  Tuesday  of  the  month,  7  pm 
Where:  Redlight  Cafe,  553  Amsterdam  Ave. 
Contact:  Mark  Wynns,  IMAGE,  (404)  352-4225 
x.  12;  markta'imagefv.org 

Birmingham,  AL: 

Contact:  John  Richardson,  johnwrta  mindspring.com 

Boston,  MA: 

Contact:  Fred  Simon,  (508)  528-7279; 
FSimon@aol.com 

Boulder,  CO: 

Monthly  activist  screenings: 

When:  Second  Thursday  of  the  month,  7  pm 

Where:  Rocky  Mountain  Peace  and  Justice 


Center,  1520  Euclid  Ave. 
Contact:  Jon  Stout,  (303)  442-8445; 
programmingfft'fstv.org 

Charleston,  SC: 

When:  Last  Thursday  of  each  month  6:30-8:45  pm 

Where:  Charleston  County  Library  Auditorium, 

68  Calhoun  St. 

Contact:  Peter  Paolini,  (843)  805-6841; 

filmsalon(S'aol.com 

Cleveland,  OH: 

Contact:  Annetta  Marion  and  Bernadette  Gillota 
at  the  Ohio  Independent  Film  Festival,  (216) 
781-1755;  OhioIndieFilmFest@juno.com 

Dallas,  TX: 

Contact:  Bart  Weiss,  (214)  999-8999; 
bart@videofest.org 

Lincoln,  NE: 

When:  2nd  Wednesday  of  the  month,  5:30  pm 

Where:  Telepro,  1844  N  Street 

Contact:  Dorothy  Booraem,  (402)  476-5422; 

dot@inetnebr.com; 

www.lincolnne.com/nonprofit/nifp/ 

Los  Angeles,  CA: 

Contact:  Lee  Lew  Lee,  aivf_la(5  pacbell.net 

Milwaukee,  WI: 

When:  1st  Wednesday  of  the  month 
Contact:  Brooke  Maroldi,  (414)  276-8563; 
www.mifs.org/salon 


New  Brunswick,  NJ: 

Contact:  Allen  Chou,  (732)  321-0711; 

allen@passionriver.com;  www.passionriver.com 

Palm  Beach,  FL: 

Contact:  Dominic  Giannetti,  (561)  326-2668; 
dgproductions@hotmail.com 

Portland,  OR: 

Contact:  Beth  Harrington,  (360)  256-6254; 
betuccia@aol.com 

Rochester,  NY: 

Contact:  Kate  Kressman-Kehoe,  (716)  244-8629; 

ksk@netacc.net 

San  Diego,  CA: 

Contact:  Paul  Espinosa,  (619)  284-9811; 
espinosa@electriciti.com 

Tucson,  AZ: 

Contact:  Heidi  Noel  Brozek,  bridge@theriver.com; 
Rosarie  Salerno,  destiny@azstarnet.com; 
http://access.tucson.org/aivf/ 

Washington,  DC: 

Contact:  DC  Salon  hotline,  (202)  554-3263  x.  4; 
sowande@bellatlantic.net 

AIVF  has  resources  to  assist  enthusiastic  and  commit- 
ted members  who  wish  to  start  a  salon  in  their  own 
community.  Please  call  (212)  807-1400  x.  236  or 
e-mail  members@aivf.org  for  information. 


VIDEO 


ANCHOR/ 

NEWS  DESK 

SETS 


VIDEO- 
CONFERENCING 


SATELLITE 
MEDIA  TOURS 


CORPORATE 
VIDEOS 


LOCATION 
CREWS 

EDITSUITE 


NTV 

is  a  division  of 

NTV 

International 

Corporation 


CONTACT: 

ElyseKabinowitz  212-489-8390 

NTV  STUDIO  PRODUCTIONS 

50  ROCKEFELLER  PLAZA 

NYC  10020 


--llLVlLqq'IC'B 


Satellite 
services 


Supports  Avid,  Premiere,  Final  Cut  Pro,  Media  100  and  EditDV 


Tracks  all  the  elements  of  the  finished  film  in  its  on-line  database 


Outputs  negative  cut  lists,  optical  lists,  pull  lists,  dupe  lists  and  more 


« 


ystems  Inc. 

www.filmlogic.com 


FilmLogic  is  designed  for  filmmakers  who  are  shooting  35mm 
or  16mm  film  and  want  to  edit  electronically  while  finishing  on 
film.  Not  another  editing  program,  FilmLogic  is  an  application 
which  works  with  popular  digital  non-linear  video  editing  systems. 
Call  Focal  Point  Systems,  Inc.  in  the  USA  toll-free  at  877-209-7458 

©  2000  Focal  Pom!  Si-stems  inc. 


66    THE    INDEPENDENT    January/February  2001 


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AIVF  MEMBER  BENEFITS  &  TRADE  DISCOUNTS 


AIVF  offers  many  benefits  to  our  members. 
For  complete  details,  including  point  persons, 
contact  information,  and  discount  codes,  visit 
www.aivf.org  (note:  you  must  provide  your  mem- 
bership number  to  log  on)  or  call  (212)  807-1400 
x  506  to  have  a  Benefits  List  mailed  to  you.  This 
information  was  last  updated  11/00  and  is  subject 
to  change  without  notice. 

New  Discounts! 

Hotel  rooms  with  Choice  Hotels  Int'l;  Stedicams 
with  Glidecam  Industries;  Film  processing  with 
Bono  Films;  Encoding  for  internet  streaming  with 
l-Stream  TV;  Processing  &  transfers  with  Magno 
Lab  Link;  Avid  rentals  with  City  Lights  Media 
Group;  Final  Cut  Pro  rental  with  Mint  Leaf 
Productions;  Legal  services  with  Ivan 
Saperstein;  Price  breaks  at  Drama  Book  Shop; 
Financial  services  with  Todres  &  Rubin,  CPAs 

AIVF  Offers 

Discounts  on  FIVF  Published  Books 

AIVF  Programs  &  Events 

Discounted  admission  to  dozens  of  programs  offered  or 
co-presented  by  AIVF  across  the  U.S. 

AIVF  Mailing  list 

Reach  a  core  group  of  folks  who  appreciate  indie  media! 

Discounts  on  Classified  ads  in  The  Independent 

For  Business  &  Nonprofit  members: 
Discounted  Display  ads  in  The  Independent 

Members  only:  AIVF  Conference  Room 

Located  in  NYC  office.  Seats  20,  with  vcr  and  32"  monitor. 

Members  only:  short-term  desk  rental 

Rent  a  desk  and  voice  mail  box  at  our  SoHo  office. 

Production  Insurance 

Special  discounted  rates  on  a  variety  of  insurance  plans 
with  the  following  companies: 

C  &  S  International  Insurance  Brokers 

CGA  Associates 

The  JLS  Group 

Marvin  S.  Kaplan  Insurance  Agency 

Homeowners  &  Auto  Insurance 

CGA  Associates 

Health  Insurance 

Bader  Associates 

Discounts  on  various  plans. 

RBA  Insurance  Strategies 

Offers  a  20-30%  discount  with  HIP  (NY  only) 


Teigit  (for  CIGNA  health  plans) 

CIGNA  health  plans  coverage  in  limited  states. 

Dental  Insurance 

Bader  Associates 
Teigit/Cigna 

Stock  &  Expendibles 

Film  Emporium  (New  York,  NY) 

10%  off  film,  video  and  audio  tape. 

Edgewise  Media  (formerly  Studio  Film  &  Tape) 
(CA,  IL,  NY) 

10%  discount  on  film  and  videotape  purchases. 

Production  Resources 

Downtown  Community  TV  Center  (New  York,  NY) 

Discounts  on  workshops,  Avid  &  DVC  rentals. 

Edgewood  Motion  Picture  Studios  (Rutland,  VT) 

25%  off  production  packages. 

Film  Emporium  (New  York,  NY) 

Consulting  on  insurance;  DVCs  for  purchase  or  rent. 

Film  Friends  (FL  &  NY) 

20%  discount  on  extensive  range  of  equipment  rentals. 

Glidecam  Industries  (Plymouth,  MA) 

15%  discount  on  body  mounted  stabilizer  systems. 

Hello  World  Communications  (New  York,  NY) 

10%  discount  for  walkies,  audio  &  video  packages. 

Lichtenstein  Creative  Media  (New  York,  NY) 

15%  discount  on  Ikegami  and  BetaSP  equipment  rental. 

Mill  Valley  Film  Group  (Mill  Valley,  CA) 

35%  discounts  on  edit  facilities  &  production  packages. 

Production  Central  (New  York,  NY) 

10%  discount  on  first-time  Beta-SP  deck  rentals 

Public  Interest  Video  Network  (Washington,  DC) 

10%  discount  on  camera  rental  packages. 

Soho  Audio  (New  York,  NY) 

10%  discount  on  all  audio  equipment  rentals. 

Texcam  (Houston,  TX) 

10%  discount  on  film  camera  packages. 

Yellow  Cat  Productions  (Washington,  DC) 

15%  off  full  day  video  shoot. 

Labs  &  Transfer  Houses 

Bee  Harris  (Mt.  Vernon,  NY) 

10%  discount  on  film  and  tape  transfers  and  duplications. 

Bono  Films  (Arlington,  VA) 

10%  discount  on  normal  processing. 

Cinepost  (Atlanta,  GA) 

Discounts  on  negative  film  processing,  film-to-video 
transfers  and  DVD  copies. 


DuArt  Film  and  Video  (New  York,  NY) 

Discounts  on  color  negative  developing,  workprinting, 
blow-ups  and  titles. 

I-Stream  TV  (New  York,  NY) 

10%  off  Encoding  into  Windows  Media  or  RealVideo  file. 

Lichtenstein  Creative  Media  (New  York,  NY) 

15%  discount  on  DV  to  Beta  dubs. 

Magno  Lab  Link,  Inc.  Film  &  Video  (New  York,  NY) 

Special  rates  on  developing,  printing,  sound,  transfers. 

OK  TV,  Inc.  (New  York,  NY) 

10%  on  all  services:  dailies,  sound  transfers;  titles  and 
f/x;  film-to-tape  transfers;  video  editing. 

Rafik  (New  York,  NY) 

10%  off  video  services,  editing,  duplication,  film-to-tape 
transfers,  and  foreign  video  conversion. 

Editing  &  Postproduction 

AMG  Post  (Aries  Media  Group)  (New  York,  NY) 

10%  discount  on  all  video  postproduction  services 

Baby  Digital  (at  Atomic  Pictures)  (New  York,  NY) 

25%  discount  on  all  postproduction  and  graphics  services. 

Bee  Harris  Productions  (New  York,  NY) 

10%  discount  on  editing  services  and  facilities. 

Brass  Rail  Music  (New  York,  NY) 

Discounted  film  scoring  services. 

City  Lights  Media  Group  (New  York,  NY) 

10%  discount  on  Avid  rentals  and  post  services. 

Diva  Edit  (New  York,  NY) 

10%  discount  on  Avid  editing  services  and  facilities 

Downtown  Community  TV  Center 

Discounts  on  workshops,  Avid  &  DVC  rentals. 

DV8Video,  Inc.  (New  York,  NY) 

Discounts  on  Avid  services,  and  duplication. 

Edgewood  Motion  Picture  Studios  (Rutland,  VT) 

35%  off  Avid  or  Protools;  studio  or  to  go. 

ENTV  Studio  Productions  (New  York,  NY) 

10%  discount  on  all  editing  services. 

GLC  Productions  (New  York,  NY) 

10-30%  discount  for  audio  post-production  services. 

Harmonic  Ranch  (New  York,  NY) 

Discounts  on  sound  editing,  music,  mixing  &  design. 

Hello  World  Communications  (New  York,  NY) 

10%  discount  on  nle  system. 

Island  Media  International  (New  York,  NY) 

50%  off  Avid  editing;  sound  mix,  design,  editing; 
DVD/CD  authoring,  packaging,  duplicating. 

Media  Loft  (New  York,  NY) 

5%  discount  on  editing,  titling,  dubbing, 
special  effects,  and  more. 

Mercer  Media  (New  York,  NY) 

50%  discount  on  audio  services  and  video  editing. 


January/February  2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      67 


The  Foundation  for  Independent  Video  and  Film  (FIVF),  the  educational  affiliate 
of  the  Association  for  Independent  Video  and  Filmmakers  (AIVF),  supports  a  variety 

of  programs  and  services  for  the  independent 
media  community,  including  publication  of  The 


T*V*W"1Tf*Mt±m 


Independent  and  a  series  of  resource  publications,  seminars  and  workshops,  and 
information  services.  None  of  this  work  would  be  possible  without  the  generous  sup- 
port of  the  AIVF  membership  and  the  following  organizations: 


The  Mary  Duke  Biddle  Foundation 

1  ■•  "  The  Chase  Manhattan  Foundation 

Forest  Creatures  Entertainment,  Inc. 

Heathcote  Art  Foundation 

The  William  and  Flora  Hewlett  Foundation 

LEF  Foundation 

Albert  A.  List  Foundation,  Inc. 


^ 


NYSCA 


The  John  D.  and  Catherine  T. 
MacArthur  Foundation 

The  National  Endowment  for  the  Arts 

New  York  City  Department  of  Cultural 
Affairs:  Cultural  Challenge  Program 

New  York  Foundation  for  the  Arts: 
TechTAP 

New  York  State  Council  on  the  Arts 


We  also  wish  to  thank  the  following  individuals  and  organizational  members: 

BllSineSS/lndUStry  Members:  CA:  Action/Cut  Directed  By  Seminars;  Dr.  Rawstock;  Eastman 
Kodak  Co.;  Film  Society  of  Ventura  County;  Focal  Point  Systems,  Inc.;  Forest  Creatures  Entertainment  Co.; 
Idea  Live;  Marshall/Stewart  Productions,  Inc.;  No  Justice  Pictures,  LLC;  ProMax  Systems  Inc.;  Somford 
Entertainment;  CO:  The  Crew  Connection;  CT:  Bagel  Fish  Prods.;  DC:  Consciousness  Squared 
Communications;  FL:  MegaMedia  Networks,  Inc.;  Odysseas  Entertainment,  Inc.;  Tiger  Productions,  Inc.; 
GA:  Indie  7;  IL  Optimus;  MA:  Coolidge  Corner  Theatre  Fdtn.;  CS  Associates,  Glidecam  Industries;  Harvard 
Medical  School;  MD:  Imagination  Machines,  The  Learning  Channel;  Ml:  Grace  &  Wild  Studios,  Inc.; 
Zooropa  Design;  NJ:  Black  Maria  Film  Festival;  Diva  Communications,  Inc.;  James  J.  Lennox; 
NewProject.Net;  NY:  All  In  One  Promotions,  Inc.;  American  Montage;  Analog  Digital  Intl.;  Arc  International 
Entertainment  Corp.;  Archive  Films,  Inc.;  Asset  Pictures;  Bagel  Fish  Productions;  Bluestocking  Fiims,  Inc.; 
The  Bureau  for  At-Risk  Youth;  C-Hundred  Film  Corporation;  Cineblast!  Prods.;  Corra  Films;  Cypress  Films; 
Deconstruction  Co.;  Trudi  DeSouza;  Dekart  Video;  Dependable  Delivery,  Inc.;  DMZ  Prods.;  DV8  Video 
Inc.;  Earth  Video;  Ericson  Media  Inc;  Fireballs  Films,  Ltd.;  Human  Relations  Media;  Hypnotic;  Inkling 
Prods.;  Kitchen  Cinema;  Kitchen  Sync  Group,  Inc.;  KL  Lighting;  Mad  Mad  Judy;  Media  Services;  Mercer 
St.  Sound;  Mixed  Greens;  Nuclear  Warrier  Prods.;  Normal  Networks;  On  Track  Video,  Inc.;  The  Outpost 
Digital;  Partisan  Pictures;  Paul  Dinatale  Post,  Inc.;  Prime  Technologies;  Reelshort.com;  SeaHorse  Films; 
Son  Vida  Pictures,  LLC;  Sound  Mechanix;  Stuart  Math  Films,  Inc.;  The  Tape  Company;  Tribune  Pictures; 
Winstar  Productions;  Wolfen  Prods.;  OR:  Angel  Station  Corp;  PA:  Smithtown  Creek  Prods.;  TX:  Rose  Noble 
Entertainment;  UT:  KBYU-TV;  Rapid  Video,  LLC;  VA:  Bono  Film  &  Video;  Roland  House,  Inc.;  WA:  Amazon.com; 
Global  Griot  Prod.;  Canada:  Fraser/Scott  Enterprises;  France:  Kendal  Prods.;  Italy:  Omnibus  Pictures  S.L. 

Nonprofit  Members:  AL  Sidewalk  Moving  Picture  Fest.;  AZ:  U  of  Arizona;  Women's 
Studies/Northern  Arizona  University;  Scottsdale  Community  College;  CA:  The  Berkeley  Documentary 
Center;  Film  Arts  Foundation;  Filmmakers  Alliance;  Intl.  Buddhist  Film  Festival;  ITVS;  Los  Angeles  Film 
Commission;  Media  Fund;  NAATA;  Ojai  Film  Society;  San  Francisco  Jewish  Festival;  U  of  Cal.  Extension, 
CMIL;  USC  School  of  Cinema  TV;  Victory  Outreach  Church;  Whispered  Media;  CO:  Denver  Center  for  the 
Performing  Arts;  CT:  Film  Fest.  New  Haven;  DC:  Corporation  for  Public  Broadcasting;  GA:  Image  Film  & 
Video  Center;  HI:  Aha  Punana  Leo;  U  of  Hawaii;  ID:  Center  for  School  Improvement;  IL:  The  Art  Institute 
of  Chicago;  Chicago  Underground  Film  Fest.;  Columbia  College;  Community  Television  Network;  Facets; 
Little  City  Foundation;  MacArthur  Foundation;  Rock  Valley  College;  KY:  Appalshop;  LA:  New  Orleans  Film 
Fest.;  MA:  CCTV;  Coolidge  Corner  Theatre  Foundation;  Harvard  Medical  School;  Long  Bow  Group  Inc; 
Lowell  Telecommunications  Corp.;  LTC  Communications;  Somerville  Community  TV;  MD:  Laurel  Cable 
Network;  Native  Vision  Media;  ME:  Bar  Harbor  Film  Fest.;  Ml:  Ann  Arbor  Film  Fest.;  MN:  Bush  Artist 
Fellowships;  IFP/North;  Intermedia  Arts;  Walker  Arts  Center;  MO:  Webster  University  Film  Series;  MS: 
Magnolia  Indie  Festival;  NC:  Doubletake  Documentary  Film  Fest;  NE:  Nebraska  Independent  Film  Project, 
Inc.;  NY:  AARP  New  York  State;  Andy  Warhol  Foundation  for  Visual  Arts,  Inc.;  Audrey  Cohen  College 
Center  for  New  American  Media;  Cinema  Arts  Center;  City  University  of  New  York  -  TV  Tech  Program 
Communications  Society;  Cornell  Cinema;  Creative  Capital  Foundation;  Crowing  Rooster  Arts;  DCTV; 
Downtown  Community  TV;  Educational  Video  Center;  Film  Forum;  Film  Society  of  Lincoln  Center; 
Globalvision,  Inc.;  Guggenheim  Museum  SoHo;  Hamptons  Film  Festival;  John  Jay  High  School;  Konscious, 
Inc.;  Manhattan  Neighborhood  Network;  MOMA-Film  Study  Center;  National  Foundation  for  Jewish 
Culture;  National  Museum  of  the  American  Indian;  National  Video  Resources;  New  York  Film  Academy; 
New  York  Film  Academy;  New  York  Women  In  Film  and  Television;  Open  Society  Institute/Soros 
Documentary  Fund;  Paper  Tiger  TV;  Paul  Robeson  Fund/Funding  Exchange;  The  Roth  School  Library;  Spiral 
Pictures;  Squeaky  Wheel;  The  Standby  Program;  Stony  Brook  Film  Fest.;  SUNY/Buffalo  Dept.  Media 
Studies;  Third  World  Newsreel;  Thirteen/WNET;  Upstate  Films,  Ltd.;  Women  Make  Movies;  OH:  Athens 
Center  For  Film  &  Video;  Cleveland  Filmmakers;  Media  Bridges  Cincinnati;  Ohio  Independent  Film 
Festival;  Ohio  University-Film;  Wexner  Center;  OR:  Communication  Arts,  MHCC;  Northwest  Film  Center;  PA 
Carnegie  Museum  of  Art;  PA/Council  On  The  Arts;  Philadelphia  FilmA/ideo  Association;  Pittsburgh  Filmmakers 
Prince  Music  Theater;  Scribe  Video  Center;  Temple  University;  Univ.  of  the  Arts;  Rl:  Flickers  Arts  Collaborative 
Rl  School  of  Design/Film,  Animation  Dept;  SC:  South  Carolina  Arts  Comm.;  TN:  Nashville  Independent  Film 
Fest;  TX:  Austin  Cinemaker  Co-Op;  Austin  Film  Society;  Museum  of  Fine  Arts,  Houston;  Southwest 
Alternate  Media  Project;  Texas  Film  Commmission;  U.  of  Texas  Dept.  Radio-TV-Film;  Worldfest  Houston; 
UT:  Sundance  Institute;  VT:  Kingdom  County  Productions;  WA:  Seattle  Central  Community  College;  Wl: 
Madison  Film  Office;  UWM  Department  of  Film;  U  of  Wisconsin  Dept  of  Communcation  Arts;  Wisconsin 
Film  Office;  Argentina:  Lagart  Producciones;  Canada:  Toronto  Documentary  Forum/Hot  Docs,-  Germany:  Int'l 
Shorts  Film  Festival;  India:  Foundation  for  Universal  Responsibility;  International  Shorts  Film  Festival 


£ 


_,EI 


ZZ 


Mill  Valley  Film  Group  (Mill  Valley,  CA) 

35%  discounts  on  Media  100  SX  or  Avid. 

Mint  Leaf  Productions  (New  York,  NY) 

15%  off  Final  Cut  Pro  Edit  System  rental. 

Northeast  Negative  Matchers,  Inc. 
(Springfield,  MA) 

10%  discount  on  negative  cutting  services. 

OK  TV,  Inc.  (New  York,  NY) 

10%  on  titles  and  f/x;  video  editing. 

One  Art  (New  York,  NY) 

10%  discount  on  Avid  rentals. 

Outpost  Digital  (New  York,  NY) 

10%  discount  on  editing  suite  rentals 

The  Picture  Room  (New  York,  NY) 

30%  discount  on  Avid  rental  and  editing  services. 

Picture  This  Music  (New  York,  NY) 

10-30%  off  digital  audio  postproduction 

The  Post  Office  at  Filmmaker's  Collaborative  (NY,  NY) 

20-50%  off  of  book  rate  for  Avid  editing. 

Public  Interest  Video  Network  (Washington,  DC) 

15%  discount  for  postproduction  services. 

Rafik  (New  York,  NY) 

10%  off  video  editing. 

Ren  Media  (Rahway,  NJ) 

Discounts  on  music  scoring  for  film/video. 

Sound  Dimensions  Editorial  (New  York,  NY) 

10%  discounts  on  transfers,  effects  &  sound  services. 

Splash  Studios  (New  York,  NY) 

35%  on  hourly  looping  and  sound  editing  fees. 

Tiny  Lights,  Inc,  (New  York,  NY) 

25%  discount  on  all  music  and  sound  design  services. 

Video  Active  Productions  (New  York,  NY) 

15-30%  discount  on  all  editing  services  and  facilities. 

Virgin  Moon  Post  (Ventura,  CA) 

20%  discount  on  all  postproduction  services. 

Virtual  Media  (New  York,  NY) 

Discounts  to  AIVF  members  on  Avid  editing  systems. 

Yellow  Cat  Productions  (Washington,  DC) 

15%  off  any  Avid  editing 

Other  Production  Services 

Image  Design  Studio  (New  York,  NY) 

20-30%  discounts  on  various  graphic  design  services. 

Software 

Final  Draft,  Inc. 

Discounts  on  Final  Draft  screenwriting  software. 

Amenities 

Cinema  Village  (New  York,  NY) 

Discounted  ticket  prices:  $6.50  for  AIVF  members. 

Drama  Book  Shop  (New  York,  NY) 

15%  discount  with  card  on  all  purchases. 

Film  Society  of  Lincoln  Center  (New  York,  NY) 

Discounted  ticket  prices  for  select  series. 


68     THE    INDEPENDENT     January/February  2001 


Two  Boots  (New  York,  NY) 

10%  discount  at  all  NYC  restaurant  branches,  the  Den 
of  Cin  exhibition  space,  and  Two  Boots  Video. 


Car  Rental 

Members  receive  discounts  on  car  rentals  with: 
Alamo;  Avis;  Budget;  Hertz;  National 

Hotels 

Discounts  within  Choice  Hotels  International  chain, 
including  Quality  Inn,  Comfort  Inn,  Sleep  Inn,  Clarion 
Hotels,  EconLodge,  Rodeway  Inn,  and  Mainstay  Suites 
locations. 

Internet  Services 

Echo  Communications  Group,  Inc. 

25%  off  commercial  and  non-profit  web  hosting  pack- 
ages &  various  SLP/PPP  accounts. 


Legal  Consulting 


Hollywood  Script  Research  (Hollywood,  CA) 

10%  off  legal  clearance  reports  (to  qualify  for  E&O 
insurance  coverage)  for  first  script  submitted. 

Consultation;  discount  on  legal  services  with  the 
following  firms: 

Daniel,  Seigel  and  Bimbler,  LLC  (New  York,  NY) 

Cowan,  DeBaets,  Abrahams  &  Sheppard 

(New  York,  NY) 

Stephen  Mark  Goldstein  (New  York,  NY) 

Law  Offices  of  Mark  Litwak  (Beverly  Hills,  CA) 

Ivan  Saperstein,  Attorney  at  Law 
(New  Rochelle,  NY) 

Law  Offices  of  Miriam  Stern  (New  York,  NY) 

Financial  Services 

Bell  &  Co.  LLP  (New  York,  NY) 

Free  consultation  on  tax  issues. 

Guardian  Life  Insurace  (New  York,  NY) 

Discounts  on  life  and  disability  insurance  plans. 

Media  Services  (New  York,  NY) 

10%  discount  on  the  handling  fee  for  payroll  services. 

Merrill  Lynch  (New  York,  NY) 

Offers  an  all-inclusive  checking,  savings,  money  market 
account  for  small  businesses. 

Premiere  Tax  &  Accounting  Services  (NY,  NY) 

25-40%  off  various  tax  returns  and  services. 

Todres  &  Rubin,  CPAs  (New  York,  NY) 

Free  tax  consulting.  10-15%  discount  on  annual  fees. 

Shipping  Services 

Airborne  Express  (c/o  Meridian  One) 

Up  to  42%  off  Airborne  Express  delivery. 


177 


U  D  I  O     4  J 


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Film  to  Tape  Transfer  $1  75/hr 

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InterFormat  OnLine  Editing  $  85/hr. 

Animation  Stand  $  85/hr. 

Digital  Audio  Post  $  85/hr. 

All  services  include  an  Editor/Operator. 


To  receive  these  benefits,  visit  www.aivf.org 
or  call  212/807-1400  to  join  AIVF  today! 


Contact  Us  for  Services  &  Info. 

PO  Box  184  NY,  NY  10012-0004 
Tel:  212.219.0951 
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The  Millennium  Campaign  Fund  is  a 
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fund     for 

the  Foundation  for  Independent  Video 
and  Film  by  our  25th  anniversary  in  the 
year  2000.  Since  its  inauguration  in 
1997,  we  have  raised  more  than 
$112,000. 

Our  heartfelt  thanks  to  all  those  who 
have  so  generously  donated  to  the 
Millennium  Campaign  Fund! 

Corporate/Government/ 
Foundation  Contributors 

BET/Encore;  District  Cablevision;  Home 
Box  Office;  New  York  State  Council  on  the 
Arts;  Ovation;  Washington  DC  Film 
Society. 

Honorary  Committee  Members 

(gifts  of  $500  or  more) 

AIVF  DC  Salon;  Ralph  Arlyck,  Timed 
Exposures;  Brian  Borrelli,  Emerson 
College;  Peter  Buck;  Hugo  Cassirer,  Felix 
Films;  Martha  Coolidge;  Linda  &  Bob 
Curtis;  Jacob  Burns  Foundation,  Inc.;  Loni 
Ding;  Jacqueline  Donnet;  Karen  Freedman 
&  Roger  Weisberg;  Julie  Goldman, 
WinStar  Productions;  David  Haas;  Henry 
Hampton*,  Blackside,  Inc.;  Nik  Ives;  Bill 
Jersey,  The  Catticus  Corporation;  Richard 
Kaplan;  Michael  G.  Kindle;  Amie  Knox; 
Deborah  Kozee,  C&S  International 
Insurance  Brokers;  Leonard  Merrill  Kurz, 
Forest  Creatures  Entertainment;  Richard 
Kylberg,  Communicom;  Tom  LeGoff; 
Helaine  &  Sidney  Lerner;  Ruby  Lerner; 
Peter  Lewnes;  Rick  Linklater,  Detour  Film 
Foundation;  Juan  Mandelbaum;  John  Bard 
Manulis;  Diane  Markrow;  Jim  McKay,  C- 
Hundred  Film  Corp.;  Michel  Negroponte; 
Sheila  Nevins;  Elizabeth  Peters;  David  & 
Sandy  Picker;  R.E.M./Athens  LLC; 
Barbara  Roberts;  James  Schamus,  Good 
Machine;  John  Schwartz;  Robert  L.  Seigel; 
Liza  Vann  Smith;  Miranda  Smith;  Michael 
Stipe;  Ann  Tennenbaum;  Tower  Records 
Videos/Books;  Walterrv  Insurance  Co.; 
Marc  N.  Weiss  &  Nancy  Meyer;  Martin 
Wills,  TCI/District  Cablevision;  Robert  E. 
Wise;  Susan  Wittenberg;  Lawrence  Zicklin, 
Jewish  Communal  Fund.  (*deceased) 

We  also  wish  to  thank  the  individuals  ok 
organizations  who  have  recently  made  or 
renewed  generous  donations  ot  $100  Oi 
more  as  MCF  FRIENDS  (8  i  oo  ro»  sooot 
Helen  Strirzler,  Mark  Lipman  >k  Forest 
Creatures  Entertainment 


January/Februan    2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      6? 


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NYC  at  Changing  America 

For  more  info,  call  Paper  Tiger: 

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632  B'WAY  (&  Houston)  100 1 2 

212.473.3040 


Statement  of  Ownership 
Management  and  Circulation 

(Required  by  39  U.S.C.  3685) 

1 .  Title  of  Publication:  Tire  Independent  Film  &Video  Monthly. 

2.  Publication  number:  011-708. 

3.  Filing  date:  11-27-99. 

4.  Issue  frequency:  Monthly  (except  Feb.  &  Sept.). 

5.  Number  of  issues  published  annually:  10. 

6.  Annual  subscription  price:  $55/individual:  $35/stu- 
dent;  $75/library;  $100/nonprofit  &  school;  $150/busi- 
ness  &  industry. 

7.  Complete  mailing  address  of  known  office  of  publi- 
cation: 304  Hudson  St..  6th  fl..  New  York,  NY  10013- 
1015.  Contact  person:  Elizabeth  Peters.  Telephone: 
(212)  807-1400  x.  224. 

8.  Complete  mailing  address  of  headquarters  or  general 
business  office  of  publisher:  304  Hudson  St.,  6th  fl.. 
New  York,  NY  10013-1015. 

9.  Full  names  and  complete  mailing  addresses  of  the 
publisher,  editor,  and  managing  editor:  Publisher: 
Elizabeth  Peters,  AIVF/FIVF.  304  Hudson  St.,  6th  fl.. 
New  York,  NY  10013-1015.  Editor:  Patricia  Thomson, 
FIVE  304  Hudson  St.,  6th  fl..  New  York,  NY  10013- 
1015.  Managing  Editor:  Paul  Power.  FIVE  304  Hudson 
St.,  6th  fl..  New  York,  NY  10013-1015. 

10.  Owner:  The  Foundation  for  Independent  Video  and 
Film  (FIVF).  304  Hudson  St..  6th  fl..  New  York.  NY 
10013-1015.  (FIVF  is  a  nonprofit  organization.) 

1 1 .  Known  bondholders,  mortgagees,  and  other  security 
holders  owning  or  holding  1  percent  or  more  of  total 
amount  of  bonds,  mortgages,  or  other  securities:  None. 

12.  Tax  status:  The  purpose,  function,  and  nonprofit  sta- 
tus of  this  501(c)(3)  organization  and  the  exempt  status 
for  federal  income  tax  purposes  has  not  changed  during 
the  preceding  12  months. 

13.  Publication  tide:  Vie  Independent  Film  &  Video  Monthly. 

14.  Issue  date  for  circulation  data  below:  Aug/Sep  2000. 

15.  Extent  and  nature  of  circulation:  a.  Total  No.  Copies 
(net  press  run):  Average  no.  copies  each  issue  during 
preceding  12  months:  13,489;  actual  no.  copies  of  sin- 
gle issue  published  nearest  to  filing  date:  13,500.  b. 
Paid  and/or  requested  circulation:  (1)  Paid/requested 
outside-county  mail  subscriptions  stated  on  Form  3541: 
Average  no.  copies  each  issue  during  preceding  12 
months:  4,867;  no.  copies  of  single  issue  published 
nearest  to  filing  date:  4,839:  (2)  Paid  in-county  sub- 
scriptions: N/A:  (3)  Sales  through  dealers,  carriers, 
street  vendors,  counter  sales  &  other  non-USPS  paid 
distribution:  Average  no.  copies  each  issue  during  pre- 
ceding 12  months:  6,363;  no.  copies  of  single  issue  pub- 
lished nearest  to  filing  date:  6,465;  (4)  Other  classes 
mailed  through  the  USPS:  N/A.  c.  Total  paid  and/or 
requested  circulation:  Average  no.  copies  each  issue 
during  preceding  12  months:  11.230;  no.  copies  of  sin- 
gle issue  published  nearest  to  filing  date:  1 1.304.  d. 
Free  distribution  by  mail:  Average  no.  copies  each  issue 
during  preceding  12  months:  137;  no.  copies  of  single 
issue  published  nearest  to  filing  date:  252.  e.  Free  distri- 
bution outside  the  mail  (carriers  or  other  means): 
Average  no.  copies  each  issue  during  preceding  12 
months:  1,315;  no.  copies  of  single  issue  published 
nearest  to  filing  date:  1.100.  f.  Total  free  distribution: 
Average  no.  copies  each  issue  during  preceding  12 
months:  1.452;  no.  copies  of  single  issue  published 
nearest  to  filing  date:  1,352.  g.  Total  distribution: 
Average  no.  copies  each  issue  during  preceding  12 
months:  12,682;  no.  copies  of  single  issue  published 
nearest  to  filing  date:  12.656.  h.  Copies  not  distributed: 
Average  no.  copies  each  issue  during  preceding  12 
months:  807:  no.  copies  of  single  issue  published  near- 
est to  filing  date:  844.  i.  Total:  (sum  of  15  g.  h(l)  and 
h(2)  Average  no.  copies  each  issue  during  preceding  12 
months:  13,489;  no.  copies  of  single  issue  published 
nearest  to  filing  date:  13.500.  j.  Percent  paid  and/or 
requested  circulation:  Average  no.  copies  each  issue 
during  preceding  12  months:  88.55% ;  actual  no.  copies 
of  single  issue  published  nearest  to  filing  date:  89.32"*. 

16.  Publication  of  Statement  of  Ownership:  Publication 
required.  Will  be  published  in  the  Jan/Feb  2001  issue  of 
this  publication. 

17. 1  certify  that  all  information  furnished  on  this  form 
is  true  and  complete. 

(Signed) 

Paul  Power,  Managing  Editor.   27th  November:  2000. 


70    THE    INDEPENDENT    January/February  2001 


MITCHELL:  CONTINUED  FROM  PAGE  39 

we  have  to  look  at  it  as  a  possibility. 
Because  HBO  is  pay  cable,  they  are  a  dif- 
ferent demographic,  representing  a  dif- 
ferent [distribution]  window  for  a  pro- 
duction. We  need  to  do  it  in  a  way  that 
keeps  our  content  the  way  it  needs  to  be. 
Sharing  editorially  is  going  to  be  difficult. 
And  pay  services  count  on  being  first. 

I  don't  have  any  [co-productions]  that 
we've  been  able  to  figure  out  yet.  There 
was  one  project  I  took  as  a  possible  part- 
nership with  HBO.  We  hit  the  wall  on  it. 
It  was  expensive.  I  couldn't  get  by  that 
for  this  particular  project.  It's  too  good, 
and  I  didn't  want  PBS  to  give  up  being 
first.  But  at  the  top  of  my  priority  list  is 
quality  and  new  thinking.  Something  will 
come  along  that  will  be  right  for  that 
kind  of  cooperation 

[Before  this  story  went  to  press,  PBS 
announced  a  collaboration  with  ABC's 
Nightline  for  Life  in  Bold,  a  newsmagazine 
about  real-life  heroes;  gave  the  green- 
light  for  27  new  episodes  of  American 
High  to  be  produced  with  20th  Century 
Fox  Television  (see  news  story  pg.  13); 
and  restructured  the  ZOOM  children's 
series  for  drop -in  of  segments  produced 
by  local  member  stations.] 

What  about  global  markets? 

I'm  spending  a  lot  of  time  on  this  because 
I  have  a  lot  of  experience  internationally. 
I  developed  a  big  international  business 
at  Turner,  but  the  international  market  is 
getting  tougher  too  as  their  marketplaces 
have  more  choices.  I  hope  we  can  figure 
out  an  overall  system  strategy  to  bring 
more  money  with  a  bigger  international 
co-production  deal.  It  would  be  addi- 
tional money  available  for  a  project. 
Instead  of  you  having  to  go  make  inter- 
national sales  calls  and  do  things  you're 
not  set  up  to  do  in  terms  of  infrastruc- 
ture, that  could  be  done  for  you  and 
shared  with  you. 

I  didn't  come  here  because  I  wanted  a 
better  job.  I  didn't  come  here  to  "man- 
age" PBS.  I  took  this  job  because  I 
believed  there  were  changes  that  were 
needed.  I'd  just  like  to  tell  you  that 
things  have  changed! 

Patnc  Hedlund  is  a  producer  and  writer.  Her 

article  "Following  the  Breadcrumb  Trail 

through  the  PBS  Jungle"  is  available  to  AIVF 

members  at  www.aivf.org.  An  expanded  version 

is  available  through  xvww.forcsts.com/breadcntmb 


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Upfront 

4    Editor's  Note 
6    Letters 
9    News 

The  latest  convolutions  in 
AMPAS's  rules  for  qualifying 
shorts  for  the  Oscars;  Off  the 
Press,  a  new  story-idea  service; 
Seattle's  911  takes  the  lead  in 
streaming  media;  theme  nights 
at  ZDF. 

by  Scott  Castle; 
Jim  Colvill; 
Shannon  Gee; 
Claus  Mueller 

15  Profiles 

Kathy  Leichter  &  Jonathan 
Skurnik's  A  Day's  Work,  A  Day's 
Pay;  Steven  Fischler  &Joel 
Sucher's  From  Swastika  to  Jim 
Crow;  Hannah  Weyer's  La  Boda. 

by  Richard  Baimbridge; 
Aaron  Krach; 
Jerry  White 


20  Festival  Circuit 

Gettin'  funky  with  L.A. 
Freewaves;  Dublin's  new 
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indigenous  films  galore  at 
IMAGINENative;  an 
experimental  fest  debuts  at 
Telluride. 

by  Jim  Moran; 

M.M.  Serra; 

Donal  6'Ceilleachair 

Faye  Ginsburg 


Departments 

27  Technology 

What  to  look  for  in  a  radio 
mic,  plus  tips  for  properly 
attaching  a  lavalier. 

by  Larry  Loewinger 


FAQ  &  Info 

43  Distributor  FAQ 

MediaRights.org  provides  one- 
stop  shopping  for  organizers 
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and  activist  filmmakers  looking 
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BY    LlSSA    GlBBS 

46  Funder  FAQ 

Film  Arts  Foundation,  a  vital 
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49  Festivals 
54  Notices 
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61  Events 

62  In  &  Out  of 
Production 

by  Jim  Colvill 

63  Salons 


Cover:  Guy  Pearce  in  Christopher 
Nolan's  Memento.  Photo  by  Danny 
Rothenberg 


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HEN  I'M  ASKED  WHAT  Dis- 
tinguishes The  Independent 
from  other  film  magazines,  I  tend  to  answer 
the  question  with  a  question:  When  is  the 
last  time  you  saw  a  story  about  media 
activism  in  those  magazines/  Or  video  art? 
How  about  youth  media?  Or  censorship,  the 
culture  wars,  telecommunications,  film  hin- 
ders, self-distribution,  or  archival  research? 

The  list  goes  on.  This  magazine  tries  to 
reflect  the  diverse  interests  of  AIVF's  mem- 
bership— our  core  readers.  So  it's  not 
unusual  to  see  a  profile  of  a  new  indie  direc- 
tor in  the  same  issue  as  a  story  on  some 
enterprising  documentary  activist. 

What  is  unusual  is  to  find  those  two  ideas 
embedded  in  one  project.  In  this  issue,  we're 
spotlighting  two  such  cases,  both  of  which 
unite  dramatic  feature  filmmaking  with  an 
activist  mentality. 

Producer  Julia  Reichert  writes  about  the 
making  of  The  Dream  Catcher  and  how  they 
used  this  feature  about  troubled  youths  to 
reach  out  to  teens  in  prisons  and  juvenile 
detention  centers — during  the  production 
process  itself.  And  director  David  Riker 
relates  how  he  used  old-fashioned  organiz- 
ing techniques  and  some  new  ideas  about 
distribution  to  reach  Latino  audiences  for 
the  theatrical  release  of  La  Ciudad.  Not  sur- 
prisingly, both  authors  worked  in  documen- 
tary prior  to  fiction  film.  But  neither  forgot 
their  political  roots  nor  the  practical  lessons 
learned  in  the  documentary  arena.  Both 
instances  show  that  these  worlds  need  not 
be  so  separate. 

A  number  of  other  activist  projects  are 
also  profiled  in  this  issue,  including  A  Day's 
Work,  A  Day's  Pay  by  Jonathan  Skurnik  and 
Kathy  Leichter,  who  recruited  the  film's  sub- 
jects as  foot  soldiers  in  the  campaign  to 
reform  workfare  in  New  York  City.  And 
there's  MediaR  ights.org,  an  exciting  new 
conduit  to  distributors  and  individual  film- 
makers who  deal  with  social  issue  media. 

But  to  keep  the  mix,  we  also  tip  our  hats 
to  our  idea  of  'quality  entertainment.'  Every 
now  and  then,  an  independently  produced 
commercial  feature  jumps  out  as  particular- 
ly sharp,  inventive,  and  masterfully  con- 
ceived. Memento  is  one  such  case.  While 
working  within  the  tradition  of  film  noir, 
writer/director  Christopher  Nolan  manages 
to  reinvent  the  genre  and  craft  a  superb 
script.  In  this  issue,  he  talks  about  his  chal- 
lenges as  a  writer  and  director — and  he  sets 
a  good  counter-example  for  all  filmmakers 
fearing  their  sophomore  slump. 

Patricia  Thomson,  editor  in  chief 


4     THE    INDEPENDENT     March  2001 


CO 


30 


CO 


CO 


CO 


In  an  industry  so  full  of  changes,  what's  inside  your 
camera  may  well  be  the  one  certainty.  Film.  At  the 
same  time,  we  realize  the  world  is  not  standing  still. 
And  neither  are  you.  Our  imaging  technologies  will 
always  evolve  because  you  evolve.  Your  ideas  fuel 
the  future.  And  we're  all  about  giving  you  what  you 
want.  What  you  need.  And  then  some.  So  you  can 
help  keep  the  world  turning.  And  our  hearts  racing. 


Make  an  informed  choice  when  selecting  your  capture 
medium.  Visit  www.kodak.com/go/story  for  the  whole  story. 


there's  more   to   the  story 


SHARE  AND  SHARE  ALIKE 

To  the  editor: 

Contrary  to  what's  stated  in  Greg  Gilpatrick's 
article  ("Desktop  Wizardry,"  January/February 
2001),  shareware  is  not  free  software.  Pro- 
grammers who  use  shareware  distribution  allow 
people  to  download  the  software  and  use  it  for 
a  set  number  of  times  or  days.  If  the  software 
doesn't  meet  your  needs,  you  don't  pay;  you 
simply  delete  the  program  from  your  hard  disk. 
If  you  choose  to  continue  using  it,  you  have  to 
pay  for  it.  Freeware  is  software  free  of  charge. 

Robert  Goodman 
Philadelphia,  PA 

AIRBALL 

To  the  editor: 

Though  he  is  one  of  the  film's  producers,  Fred 
Marx  provided  erroneous  information  for  your 
documentary  case  study,  "Hoop  Dreams:  The 
Ultimate  Success  Story"  (November  2000). 

First  and  foremost,  CPB  did  not  give  us  a 
grant  for  $375,000,  but  rather  $70,000.  The 
MacArthur  Foundation  provided  us  with  the 
largest  and  most  important  grant,  $250,000, 
without  which  we  could  have  never  finished 
the  film.  Additionally,  we  received  $50,000 


from  PBS  and  several  small  grants  from  Illinois 
Arts  Council,  NEA  Regional  Fellowships,  and 
a  few  private  donors. 

The  deferrals  total  of  $140,000  that  Fred 
provided  refers  to  only  the  most  significant 
"out-of-pocket"  costs  that  had  not  been  paid. 
Not  included  are  much  of  the  salaries  and 
resources  provided  by  Kartemquin  Films  and 
the  filmmakers  during  the  course  of  a  seven- 
year  project  that  involved  nearly  200  days  of 
shooting  and  over  two  years  of  editing.  Add 
those  real  costs  in  and  the  deferral  total  was 
more  like  $1  million. 

Finally,  the  percentages  are  wrong  for  the 
split  of  revenue  from  the  film.  Here's  the  cor- 
rect division: 

Producers  (3  @  8.64%) 

Arthur  &  William  (2  @  8.64%) 

Arthur  &  William's  families  (2  @  3.84%) 
High  schools  portrayed  in  film  (3.2%) 
Secondary  subjects 

(based  on  screen  time)  (0.80%) 

Kartemquin  Films  (8.64%) 

KTCA-TV  (36.48%) 

Hoop  Dreams  may  have  hit  "a  homerun,"  as 
Fred  is  quoted  as  saying,  but  considering  the 
enormity  of  the  undertaking  and  the  fact  that 
the  subjects  participated  in  the  income  to  a 


degree  that  may  be  unprecedented  in  docu- 
mentary film,  the  financial  rewards  for  the 
filmmakers  was  a  bit  more  sobering.  Nowhere 
is  this  more  clear  than  in  the  percentages 
taken  by  the  production  entities:  Kartemquin 
Films,  which  made  the  film,  and  KTCA,  our 
PBS  station  partner.  This  represents  some  of 
the  inherent  problems  for  independents  trying 
to  work  within  the  public  television  system. 
But  that's  another  story. 

Steve  James  &  Gordon  Quinn 

Director/Producer  &  Executive  Producer, 

Hoop  Dreams,  Chicago,  IL 

ERRATA 

In  our  coverage  of  the  Independent  Feature 
Project  Market,  "New  Name,  Same  Old 
Market"  [December  2000],  we  wrote  that 
"ITVS's  LInCS  funds  2%  of  applicants."  That 
figure  is  accurate  for  ITVS's  Open  Call,  but 
not  for  LInCS,  which  funded  35%  of  appli- 
cants in  2000  and  22%  in  1999. 

In  the  "Solaris  Power"  story  [Jan/Feb  2001] 
Seth  Shire  should  have  been  credited  as  post- 
production  supervisor  on  Tumbleweeds,  not 
Eitan  Hakami,  whose  company,  Post 
Production  Playground,  and  Michael  Williams 
did  additional  post  supervision  on  the  film. 

The  Independent  regrets  these  errors. 


CALL  FOR  ENTRIES 


Announcing  the 

33rd  Annual  NCFR 

Media  Aw^dty 


National  Council  on  Family  Relations 
""onsors  an  annual  MMia  Awards 

♦  jA 

mpetition  to  recognize  outstanding 

'vim 

eos  and  CD-ROMS  on  marriage  an 
family  topics.  Awards  will  be  given  in 
the  following  divisions:  Commercial/ 
Entertainment,  and  Educational 
reductions.      / 


Competition  Categories 

•  Addiction/Substance  Abuse 

•  Aging 

•  Contemporary  Social  Issues 

•  Families  with  Special  Needs 

•  Family  Violence/Abuse 

•  Human  Development  Across  the 

Life  Span 

•  Marital  &  Family  Issues 

&  Communications 

•  Mental  Health,  Stress,  Transition, 

&  Crisis  Management 

•  Diverse  Family  Systems 

•  Parenting  Issues 

•  Sexuality  &  Sex  Role 

Development 

•  Teenage  Pregnancy 

&  Sexuality 

•  STD/AIDS 

•  Other  (e.g.  PSAs) 


Submissions  must  be 
first-time  entries  to  the 
competition  and  must  carry  a 
release  date  no  earlier  than  Jan.  1 , 
1999.  Entries  must  be  postmarked 
on  or  before  April  1,  2001. 

Entry  forms  can  be  obtained  from 
our  website  or  for  additional 
information,  please  contact: 

NCFR  Media  Awards 

Lynda  Bessey,  Media  Awards  Coordinator 

3989  Cennal  Ave.  NE,  #  550 

Minneapolis,  MN  55421 

Tel:  888-781-9331    Fax:  763-781-9348 

E-mail:  lbessey@ncrr.org 

Website:  www.ncfr.org 

An  international  nonprofit  organization  focused  on  family  research,  policy,  and  practice. 


6     THE    INDEPENDENT     March  2001 


WE'RE  FROM  THE  GOVERNMENT. 
WE'RE  HERE  TO  HEEP  YOU. 

Call  us.  Ask  us  about  the  weather.  Our  huge  crew-hase.  "No-lee"  permitting.  Tax  exemptions. 

Incentives.  Those  great  locations  and  stages  you've  heard  about.  Cannibal  Vampire  Schoolgirls  from 

Outer  Space.  Murder  in  My  Snorts.  Teenage  Mutant  Ninja  Turtles.  We  can  do  it  for  you,  just  like 

we  did  it  ror  them.  Oh,  we  work  with  the  big  filmmakers  too.  But  you  already  knew  that. 


INojrilh    Larolina    Jr  i  1  bi   V. 

(919)  733-9900  or  www.ncfilm.com 


obi  mission 


We  love  a  parade. 

The  best  spot  to  view  parades? 
VideoSource,  of  course.  In  tact,  now 
that  we  represent  the  footage  library  of 
Associated  Press  Television  News, 
there's  even  more  to  cheer  about. 
From  international  coverage  to 
stateside  news,  we  have  it  all  lined  up. 
Just  give  us  your  marching  orders. 


©  news  Vide  Source 


tfl^* 


Look  no  further. 

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The  mission  of  the  Association  of  Independent  Video  \ 
and  Filmmakers  (AIVF)  is  to  increase  the  creative 
and  professional  opportunities  for  independent  video 
and  filmmakers  and  to  ensure  and  enhance  the  growth 
of  independent  media  by  providing  services,  advocacy, 
and  information.  In  these  ways,  AIVF  promotes 
diversity  and  democracy  in  the  communication  and 
expression  of  ideas  and  images. 

AIVF  Founding  Principles: 

1  The  Association  is  an  organization  of  and  for  independen 
video-  and  filmmakers. 

2  The  Association  encourages  excellence,  commitment 
and  independence;  it  stands  for  the  principle  that  video  an' 
filmmaking  is  more  than  just  a  job,  that  it  goes  beyond 
economics  to  involve  the  expression  of  broad  human 
values. 

3  The  Association  works,  through  the  combined  efforts  ol 
the  membership,  to  provide  practical,  informational,  and 
moral  support  for  independent  video-  and  filmmakers  and 
is  dedicated  to  ensuring  the  survival  and  providing  support 
for  the  continuing  growth  of  independent  video-  and 
filmmaking. 

4  The  Association  does  not  limit  its  support  to  one  genre, 
ideology,  or  aesthetic,  but  fur+hers  diversity  of  vision  in 
artistic  and  social  consciousness. 

5  The  Association  champions  independent  video  and  film 
as  valuable,  vital  expressions  of  our  culture,  and  is 
determined  to  open,  by  mutual  action,  pathways  toward 
exhibition  of  this  work  to  the  community  at  large. 


£S^S) 


EDITED    BY    RICHARD    B A  I M BRIDGE 


Docs  Get 
Their  Due 

The  Academy  Grants  Branch 
Status  to  Documentaries. 

by   Scott   Castle 


In  1941,  Churchill's  Island,  a  film 
chronicling  the  early  days  of  Great 
Britain's  defense  against  Germany  during 
World  War  II,  won  the  very  first  Academy 
Award  for  Best  Documentary  Film.  Now, 
60  years  and  as  many  awards  later,  docu- 
mentary film  was  finally  given  its  own 
branch  on  the  Academy  of  Motion 
Picture  Arts  and  Sciences'  Board  of 
Governors.  This  recognition  of  the  histor- 
ical importance  and  ongoing  vitality  of 
documentary  film  comes  at  the  end  of  a 
setback-riddled  decade  for  the  form. 

"Documentarians  have  played  an 
important  role  in  filmmaking  since  the 
beginning  of  the  artform,  whose  first  steps 
were  essentially  documentary  in  nature," 
says  Academy  president  Robert  Rehme  in 
response  to  the  decision.  "By  granting 
branch  status  to  our  documentary  film- 
makers, the  Academy  is  acknowledging 
the  continuing  importance  of  the  century- 
old  genre." 

"This  is  a  big  step,"  agrees  documentar- 
ian  Arthur  Dong,  who  is  a  member  of  the 
Academy's  Documentary  Executive 
Committee  (DEC) ,  the  group  responsible 
for  securing  the  branch  status.  "This  is  the 
first  time  in  Academy  history  that  they've 
acknowledged  our  strengths  as  a  branch, 
and  that's  really  great,"  he  says.  "Branch 
formation  is  not  easy  for  anybody. . .  .  Like 
any  other  organization,  things  take  time." 

Considering  how  close  to  extinction 
the  documentary  short  subject  category 
has  come  recently,  the  decision  could  not 
be  more  timely.  In  1992,  the  Academy's 
Board  of  Directors  opted  to  do  away  with 
both  the  live -action  and  documentary 
shorts  categories  altogether,  but  an  outcry 
from  the  filmmaking  community  ensued, 
and  lobbying  efforts,  including  a  report 
that  unanimously  recommended  retaining 
both   awards,    persuaded    the   board    to 


rescind  its  decision.  Then,  in  January  of 
1999,  the  Academy  combined  the  short 
and  feature-length  documentary  cate- 
gories. Again,  the  category  was  snatched 
from  the  jaws  of  death  by  a  letter  signed 
by  such  industry  leaders  as  Harvey 
Weinstein,  Robert  Redford,  Michael 
Eisner,  and  Jeffrey  Katzenberg  criticizing 
the  decision.  This,  as  well  as  campaigns  by 
AIVF  and  the  International  Document- 
ary Association  (IDA),  helped  convince 
the  Academy  to  reverse  its  decision. 

The  new  branch  status  for  documen- 
taries is  unique  in  that  its  only  allotted 
one  governor,  in  contrast  to  the  three 
governors  who  represent  each  of  the  other 
13  branches  and  compile  the  board's  39 
voting  members.  When  the  Academy 
began  in  1927,  there  were  only  five 
branches — for  actors,  directors,  produc- 
ers, technicians,  and  writers — and  the  last 
branch  addition  was  for  visual  effects  in 
1995.  The  Documentary  Branch's  single 
governor,  who  will  be  selected  in  a  July 
election,  will  have  full  voting  privileges 
and  Documentary  Executive  Committee 
Chairman  Arnold  Schwartzman  doesn't 
believe  the  single  allotment  reflects  any 
Academy  bias  against  documentary  but 
rather  their  prudent  stance  on  keeping 
the  number  of  governors  down.  "I  think 
it's  a  step  in  the  right  direction  and  that 
it's  only  a  matter  of  time  before  we  get 
three  governors,"  explains  an  optimistic 
Schwartzman. 

At  the  time  of  the  initial  1 1  to  1  deci- 
sion to  eliminate  the  documentary  cate- 
gory, there  were  no  documentary  makers 
on  the  DEC.  Today's  committee  includes 
such  documentary  luminaries  as  Arthur 
Dong,  Barbara  Kopple,  and  Errol  Morris. 
In  fact,  nine  of  the  12  current  members 
are  either  Oscar  winners  or  former  nomi- 
nees— a  change  welcomed  by  those  in  the 
documentary  community.  "Now  that  the 
Academy  committee  is  made  up  of  inde- 
pendent filmmakers.  .  .  they  hopefully  can 
have  an  influence  on  the  way  the 
Academy  views  documentaries,"  says  for- 
mer IDA  acting  executive  director  Grace 
Ouchida. 

Recently  the  DEC  has  made  notable 
changes  to  the  documentary  feature  nom- 
inating procedure.  Previously  this  was 
open  to  any  members  (including  non-doc  - 
umentarians)  who  had  the  time  to  tackle 
the      relentless      screening      schedule. 


Painter  Dan  Keplinger  was  the  subject  of  Susan  Hannah 
Hadary  and  William  A.  Whiteford's  film  King  Gimp,  which 
won  last  year's  Oscar  for  Best  Documentary  Short  after 
the  category  was  reinstated. 

However,  in  practical  terms  it  was  limited 
to  Southern  California-based  members, 
since  the  screenings  only  took  place  in 
Los  Angeles.  Now,  the  process  involves 
only  documentary  makers  and  allows 
videotape  screenings. 

The  committee  began  its  overhaul  by 
recruiting  approximately  80  documentari- 
ans who  were  members  of  the  Academy  to 
take  part  in  a  new  prescreening  process. 
Split  into  four  subcommittees,  the  mem- 
bers screen  videotapes  (which  is  a  notable 
allowance,  considering  the  Academy's 
tight  adherence  to  the  theatrical  experi- 
ence) to  reduce  their  individual  pools  of 
12-15  films  to  three  finalists.  The  com- 
piled finalists  are  then  screened  to  the 
general  membership  in  New  York,  San 
Francisco,  and  Los  Angeles,  which  must 
see  10  of  the  12  films  before  voting  for  five 
nominees.  The  last  stage  requires  that 
members  see  all  five  nominated  films 
before  the  final  vote.  This  new  process 
debuted  last  year  and  promises  a  more 
democratic  system  in  the  future. 

"This  is  the  first  year  we'll  bring  that 
process  into  the  shorts  [category].  We 
tried  it  with  the  features  first  and  that 
worked  really  well,"  explains  Dong,  who 
was  instrumental  in  pushing  the  changes 
through.  "Now  that  the  DEC  is  becoming 
a  branch,  it  will  have  to  reexamine  its 
processes,  including  who  among  its  mem- 
bers will  qualify  to  vote  for  the  award,"  he 
adds. 

Recently,  news  came  that  the  number 
of  qualifying  documentary  shorts  dropped 
20  percent  in  2000,  from  a  total  o\  J5  to 
28  films.  The  reason  is  not  from  a  short- 
age of  documentary  shorts  out  in  the 
field — a  look  at  the  number  of  doc  festi 
vals  and  submissions  confirms  that  point. 
Rather,  it  seems  to  be  due  to  the  hurdles 


March   2001     THE    INDEPENDENT      9 


SUMMERS  ARE  INTENSE  @  NYU 


"Now  that  the  Academy  committee 

is  made  up  of  independent 

filmmakers,  hopefully  they  can  have 

an  influence  on  the  way  the 

Academy  views  documentaries." 

-  Grace  Ouchida 


short  documentaries  face  in  qualifying.  As 
it  now  stands,  a  documentary  short  must 
screen  at  least  once  a  day  for  seven  con- 
secutive days  in  a  commercial  theater  in 
the  borough  of  Manhattan  or  Los 
Angeles  County  to  a  paying  audience.  No 
easy  feat.  By  contrast,  fiction  shorts  only 
have  to  screen  twice  daily  for  three  days. 
In  1995,  the  Academy  voted  to  end  festi- 
val screenings  of  documentaries  for  eligi- 
bility, a  move  the  International  Docu- 
mentary Association  countered  by  found- 
ing the  Doctober  festival,  which  screens 
documentaries  with  the  required  seven- 
day  required  LA  run.  When  Manhattan 
was  later  added  as  a  qualifying  location, 
HBO  and  the  IDA  began  presenting  the 
Frame -by-Frame  festival,  to  qualify  films 
on  the  east  coast. 

Since  the  new  tiered  judging  method 
lessens  the  burden  on  judges  from  seeing 
every  film,  there's  a  renewed  effort  to 
allow  films  to  qualify  through  festivals — 
but  only  if  they  win.  "By  requiring  that 
they  be  winners  at  these  festivals,  there's 
already  a  prescreening  process  done  for 
us,"  adds  Dong.  "That's  why  I've  been 
fighting  for  the  last  couple  years  to  allow 
winners  at  festivals  to  qualify  for  Oscar 
consideration,  and  that's  going  to  come 
through  next  year." 

With  the  newly  recognized  branch  sta- 
tus, documentary  film  will  fare  better 
than  ever  within  the  Academy  and  docu- 
mentarians  can  rest  a  little  easier  know- 
ing that  they  have  someone  on  the  inside, 
a  voice  to  represent  their  artform.  But 
don't  pack  your  documentary  shorts  off  to 
festivals  in  hopes  of  qualifying  quite  yet. 
For  one  thing,  the  list  of  which  festivals 
qualify  has  yet  to  be  compiled,  but  more 
importantly,  the  move  is  not  a  sure  thing. 
"Nothing's  ever  definite  until  we  get  that 
final  rubber  stamp  from  the  Board  of 
Governors,"  reminds  Dong. 

Scott  Castle  is  assistant  editor  at 
The  Independent. 


10     THE    INDEPENDENT     March  2001 


@s^) 


Better  than  Fiction? 


Oflf  The  Press  Debuts 


While  true-life  stories  are  often  a 
good  resource  for  script  ideas,  the  actual 
research  time  involved  can  be  daunting 
for  filmmakers.  But  now  Off  The  Press,  a 
new  web-based  media  research  outfit, 
appears  to  have  streamlined  the  process 
significantly.  The 
web  site  cherry-picks 
from  200  publica- 
tions—  including 
major  dailies  and  city 
magazines,  alterna- 
tive papers,  and  web 
sites — posting  arti- 
cles on  the  site  that 
they  believe  will  pro- 
vide inspiration  for 
scriptwriters.  There 
are  brief  summaries 
of  each  article  post- 
ed, and  the  site  is  relatively  easy 
to  navigate,  which  could  poten- 
tially replace  the  cumbersome 
task  of  having  to  trawl  through 
magazine  after  magazine. 

Although  it  does  not  carry 
the  rights  to  the  stories  it  posts 
(that  is  something  the  filmmak- 
er must  pursue  separately),  Off 
The  Press  is  effectively  a 
research  service.  Once  you  see  a 
story  that  you  are  interested  in, 
the  organization  can  research 
numerous  databases  and  publi- 
cations for  further  articles  on  that  topic 
with  a  "Snap  Search."  This  costs  $99, 
which  includes  the  database  search  time, 
document  download  fee,  and  delivery. 
The  results  of  the  search  are  confidential 
and  will  not  be  posted  on  the  site's 
archive.  If  your  research  requirements  are 
more  extensive,  Off  The  Press  can  also 
put  you  in  touch  with  one  of  its  freelance 
researchers  who  will  carry  out  confiden- 
tial custom  research  for  an  individually 
quoted  price. 

Founded  last  September  by  Carolyn 
Chriss,  who  has  worked  extensively  in  the 
specialized  field  of  movie  and  TV 
research,  Off  The  Press  has  already 
amassed  an  impressive  15,000  stories. 
"Through  my  research  work,  I  have  come 
across   hundreds   of  stories   that   would 


make  excellent  subjects  for  movies  and 
TV  shows,"  remarks  Chriss,  who  has  car- 
ried out  research  for  films  such  as  The 
Insider  and  Erin  Brockovich.  "There  is 
nothing  I  enjoy  more  than  to  see  those 
stories  brought  to  life  by  talented  writers." 
She  says  the  site  tries  to  cater  to 
as  wide  an  audience  as  possible 
by  posting  news  stories  from 
many  different  categories — sci- 
ence, technology,  law,  and  crime 
to  name  a  few.  Her  aim  is  to 
attract  filmmakers  of  all  back- 
grounds, from  low-budget  inde- 
pendents to  studio  financed 
Hollywood  productions. 

Michael  Bortman,  a  screen- 
writer for  20  years, 
recently  discovered 
Off  The  Press  and  is 
already  a  strong  sup- 
porter: "The  point 
|  of  view  behind  the 
selection  of  articles 
really  takes  into 
account  what  writ- 
ers and  producers 
look  for  in  a  story," 
he  says.  He  also 
stresses  the  conve- 
nience of  the  site,  as 


well  as  the 
flexible 
payment 

methods,  which  vary  depending  on  how 
long  you  wish  to  use  the  site.  Twenty-four 
hours  of  access  costs  only  $5,  allowing 
customers  to  explore  the  site  without 
having  to  make  a  big  financial  commit- 
ment. If  additional  time  is  required,  a 
month's  access  costs  just  $30,  and  a  year 
is  $300. 

A  quick  tour  of  the  site  (www.offthe 
press.org)  allows  you  to  look  at  sample 
articles  featured  on  the  site  for  no  charge. 
Don't  be  surprised  if  you  see  one  that  gets 
you  hooked. 

Jim  Colvill 

]im  Colvill  is  an  editorial  intern  at 
The  Independent. 


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Dial  911  for  Streaming  Media 


A 


Slogans  like  "broadband  is  the  future" 
and  press  releases  touting  "mass  consumer 
audiences"  have  come  to  sound  more  like 
the  empty  promises  of  politicians  than  the 
real  future  of  entertainment.  Some  recent 
casualties  include  Pop.com,  which  failed 
despite  its  Hollywood  pedigree,  and  the 
pioneering  Atom  Films,  which  closed  its 
Seattle  offices  and  cut  staff  to  realign  with 
the  San  Francisco -based  Shockwave.  Yet 
there  are  some  web  sites  pledged  to  show- 
ing independent  artists'  work  in  noncom- 
petitive environs — commercial-free  havens 
where  pop-up  ads,  IPOs,  and  stock  values 
stay  refreshingly  out  of  the  equation. 

One  such  place  is  WebFlicks.org,  the 
streaming  media  portal  for  the  Seattle- 
based  nonprofit  911  Media  Arts.  911  sup- 
ports media  artists  in  four  major  areas: 
creation,  education,  exhibition,  and  dis- 
tribution. And  while  exhibition  has  tradi- 
tionally meant  a  screen  in  a  darkened  the- 
ater, 911  can  now  add  home  computers  to 
its  list  of 
venues.  Peter . , __  __ 

Mitchell,   ;||  praps- 

911's  screen- 
ihgs  curator, 
webmaster 

and  WebFlicks  designer  says,  "WebFlicks' 
ultimate  goal  is  to  increase  participation 
in  viewing  and  creating  new  media,  as 
well  as  showing  people  that  there  are  a  lot 
of  [alternative]  messages  out  there." 
Mitchell  contends  that  movie  audiences 
are  often  subjected  to  the  same  three 
standard  plots:  "falling  in  love,  wouldn't  it 
be  great  if  you  were  rich,  and  topics  that 
support  the  military  industrial  complex." 
WebFlicks.org  offers  an  alternative  to  box 
office  fare  by  streaming  911  members' 
short  films.  "People  who  are  interested  in 
non-commercial,  non-traditional  forms  of 
media  can  come  to  this  place  and  find  out 
what's  being  created  here,"  says  Mitchell. 
One  example  is  David  Donar's  mush- 
room masterpiece  Fergie's  Fungi,  which 
headlines  the  animation  section  at 
WebFlicks.org.  Donar,  who  has  had  his 
work  shown  on  MTV  and  at  the  popular 
Spike  and  Mike  animation  festival,  is 
savvy  to  the  ins  and  outs  of  content 
licensing  on  the  Internet,  but  was  eager  to 
present  his  work  on  91  l's  site.  "It's  a  great 
place  to  get  not  only  exposure,  but  also  a 
good  way  for  me  to  give  back,"  he  says. 


aspect  of  the 
site  is  that  artists  on  WebFlicks.org  retain 
the  rights  to  their  work,  giving  them  the 
option  to  license  it  to  other  companies. 
Director  Dave  Hannigan  adds  this  isn't 
the  only  benefit  of  having  his  films  shown 
on  the  site.  "I've  been  getting  good  feed- 
back," he  says.  (The  web  site  gets  about 
100  unique  visitors  a  day.)  "It's  an  award 
in  itself  just  to  get  an  audience." 

WebFlicks.org  began  as  a  screening 
series  for  video  works  that  were  down- 
loaded from  the  web  and  subsequently 
projected-a  process  that  commercial  the- 
aters are  currently  taking  to  new  levels. 
The  site  has  since  evolved  into  a  web- 
streaming  channel  for  artists'  work. 

Content-wise,  it  differs  from  most  com- 
mercially-oriented ventures  by  being  less 
concerned  with  site  traffic  than  with  with 
creating  a  platform  for  artists.  To  that 
end,  WebFlicks  provides  welcome  oppor- 
tunities to  groups  like  documentarians 
(affiliating  with  the  local  PBS  station),  as 
well  as  media  artists,  and  even  kids. 


"I  only  have  my  film  on  a  tape," 
explains  14-year-old  Michael  Matas, 
whose  film  Lost  Keys  (which  was  created 
under  the  auspices  of  91  l's  Young 
Producers'  Program)  is  featured  on  the 
site.  "I  can't  get  the  tape  out  to  all  of  my 
friends.  But  now  I  have  it  on  the  [911] 
web  site  where  even  my  grandmother 
who  lives  in  Las  Vegas  can  look  at  it." 

Creating  a  site  like  WebFlicks.org  isn't 
easy  of  course,  but  it's  a  challenge  that 
Mitchell  says  other  media  access  centers 
across  the  country  are  capable  of  taking 
on.  911  turned  to  companies  like 
Speakeasy.net  and  PlayStream.com  for 
WebFlicks.org's  hosting  solutions,  while 
911  volunteers  built  the  server  out  of 
donated  computers.  Tech  industry  profes- 
sionals were  invited  to  teach  classes  at 
91  l's  educational  wing,  thus  creating  a 
staff  that  could  eventually  run  the  site  on 
its  own,  having  learned  skills  in  encoding 
and  video  compression. 

Was  it  crucial  that  91 1  is  only  a  byte's 
distance  from  companies  like  Microsoft 
and  Real  Networks?  "It  helped,"  says 
Mitchell,  "because  there  are  so  many  peo- 


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pie  speaking  the  language  of  technology." 

Still,  Mitchell  is  convinced  that  a  site 
like  WebFlicks.org  is  not  unique  to  Seattle 
and  can  and  should  be  done  at  other 
media  organizations  around  the  country. 
"There's  a  reason  why  people  join  togeth- 
er at  these  community  centers.  Let's  link 
them  up!"  he  says.  The  dedicated  com- 
munity model  helped  create  WebFlicks. 
org,  and  it  will  also  insure  its  growth.  The 
potential  of  numerous  media  centers  com- 
ing on-line  will  make  it  easier  to  share 
resources,  preview  works,  and  organize 
screenings.  "How  many  of  these  dot-coms 
are  now  on  the  skids  because  the  people 
involved  lost  the  vision?"  asks  Mitchell. 
Indeed,  if  a  dot-com  had  the  consistent 
support  from  volunteers  to  filmmakers  to 


board  members  that  WebFlicks.org  has 
experienced,  it  would  be  a  tremendous 
boost  to  both  vitality  and  viability.  At 
WebFlicks.org,  the  revenue  is  the  collabo- 
rative content  itself,  not  ad  revenue.  "I 
guess  the  message  to  readers  in  other  arts 
centers  is  to  get  busy!  Get  busy,  make  that 
website,  get  it  up  there!"  encourages 
Mitchell.  "There  are  people  in  these  arts 
centers  willing  to  donate  their  time,  skills 
and  support.  Take  advantage  of  that 
model.  There  are  a  million  dot-coms  that 
would  die  to  have  that." 

Shannon  Gee 

Shannon  Gee,  a  freelance  writer,  film  critic,  and 
documentary  producer  based  in  Seattle,  co-pro- 
duced Conscience  and  the  Constitution,  which 
premiered  on  PBS  last  fall. 


ZDF/ARTE  THEME  NIGHTS 


The  following  list  of  ZDF/Arte's  upcom- 
ing theme  nights  was  accidentally  omit- 
ted from  "Arte's  Mark,"  by  Claus  Mueller 
[December  2000 — see  www.aivf.org],  an 
article  that  looked  at  the  upscale 
German-French  television  channel  Arte. 
Each  theme  night  is  listed  with  its  com- 
missioning editor.  Since  these  are  in  var- 
ious stages  of  development,  ZDF  urges 
that  interested  filmmakers  should  ascer- 
tain from  the  commissioning  editor  what 
the  status  of  each  theme  night  is  before 
submitting  proposals  or  tapes.  In  future 
issues,  The  Independent  will  publish  a  reg- 
ular update  of  planned  theme  nights  by 
ZDF  and  other  public  broadcasters. 

Of    Sheep     and     Shepherds     (Anke 
Lindenkamp:    lindenkamp.A@ZDF.de) 
Sheep,  flocks,  and  shepherds  and  how 
we  relate  to  them  from  mythological, 
economic,  and  historical  perspectives. 
The  Dream  House   (Doris  Hepp  and 
Sabine  Bubeck-Paaz:  Hepp.D@ZDF.de 
&  Bubeck.S@ZDF.de)  Our  dream-house 
Utopias  in  the  First  and  Third  World. 
Betrayal  (Hepp  and  Susanne  Mertens: 
Mertens.S@   ZDF.de)    Analysis   of  the 
current  personal  and  political  meanings 
of  "treason"  and  "traitors"  and  the  con- 
sequences that  follow. 
Family   Models   at   the   Turn   of  the 
Millennium  (Mertens)  Search  for  and 
identification  of  current  family  types  and 
what  the  future  will  bring. 
Cleaner,  Cleaner!  An  Evening  around 
Cleaning  (Mertens)  On  the  need  and 


obsession  with  cleanliness  and  the 
conflict  it  generates  in  marriages  and 
communal  living. 

Street  Life  (Kathrin  Brinkmann: 
brinkmann.K@ZDF.de)  The  street  as 
theater  and  arena  for  conflicts  generating 
unique  experiences  and  encounters. 
Fast  Food  (Bubeck-Paaz  and  Mertens) 
Consequences  of  that  vast  industry  for 
our  world  and  environment,  and  the  sto- 
ries that  emerge  from  the  fast  food  places 
we  frequent;  an  international  journey. 
Megalomania  (Hepp)  Think  Big  as  the 
topic  for  our  time:  greatness  or  megalo- 
mania? In  our  daily  experiences,  politics, 
medicine,  architecture. 
Mirror,  Mirror  on  the  Wall  (Brink- 
mann) The  mirror  as  an  instrument  of 
self-recognition  leads  to  a  thematic  jour- 
ney into  reflections,  delusions,  fantasies. 
The  Typewriter  (Bubeck-Paaz)  Role  of 
the  invention  of  typewriters  for  women's 
entry  into  the  labor  force  and  the  coming 
of  the  information  economy,  emancipat- 
ing and  backgrounding  women. 
The  Legacy  of  Frankenstein  (Brink- 
mann) Biomedical  technologies  trans- 
form the  body  and  dissolve  boundaries 
between  man  and  machine,  reality  and 
virtual  reality,  obliterating  the  notion  of 
identity. 

Summer  Lust  &  Cravings  for  the  Sea 
(Brinkmann)  Our  craving  for  summer 
freshness  and  the  air  of  the  sea,  for 
amusement  parks  and  spas,  for  the  place 
where  the  earth,  water,  and  air  merge. 

Claus  Mueller 


14    THE    INDEPENDENT     March  2001 


(^^^) 


Jonathan  Skumik  & 
Kathy  Leichter 

A  DAY'S  WORK,  A  DAY'S  PAY 

by  Richard  Baimbridge 


Jonathan  Skurnik  and 
Kathy  Leichter  have  taken 
the  term  "media  activism" 
to  a  level  rarely  before  wit- 
nessed. The  directing  part- 
ners' first  documentary,  A 
Day's  Work,  A  Day's  Pay,  is 
a  bold,  grassroots  campaign 
that  employs  its  subjects  as 
foot  soldiers.  Their  mission: 
to  overturn  laws  that  are 
oppressing  New  York's  wel- 
fare recipients,  while  challenging  deep 
prejudices  about  welfare,  and  empowering 
the  powerless. 

"I've  seen  just  the  footage  from  our 
trailer  spark  so  much  discussion,"  says 
Leichter,  sitting  in  the  editing  room  of 
Mint  Leaf  Productions,  as  interviews  from 
the  film  play  silently  in  the  background. 
"Early  on  we  showed  some  footage  to  the 
community  groups  we  were  working  with, 
and  immediately  they  responded  with  all 
these  intense  emotions — frustration, 
anger,  and  ideas."  The  faces  on  the  screen 
are  those  of  welfare  recipients  forced  by 
the  City  of  New  York  to  work  for  their 
benefits  in  a  program  called  "workfare" 
(or  "WEP"),  initiated  by  Mayor  Giuliani 
in  conjunction  with  the  1996  federal 
Welfare  Reform  Act.  The  theory  is  to 
make  people  personally  liable  for  "paying 
back"  the  welfare  benefits  they  receive  by 
working  menial  jobs  for  approximately  30 
hours  per  week,  at  the  equivalent  of  min- 
imum wage.  On  the  surface  that  might 
not  sound  like  such  a  bad  idea.  But  the 
reality  is  that  far  from  helping  people 
break  out  of  poverty  (as  Roosevelt's  WPA 
program  at  least  made  an  effort  to  do  dur- 
ing the  Great  Depression),  workfare  is  dri- 
ving many  of  them  deeper  into  poverty 
and  despair — confining  people  who  often 
have  skills  to  mindless,  unskilled  labor, 
while  depriving  them  of  basic  rights  and 
benefits,  including  the  right  to  unionize. 

That  much  is  clear  once  you've  seen  A 


Day's  Work,  A  Day's  Pay  (a  title  echoing 
the  rally  cry  of  workfare  workers  organiz- 
ing an  "illegal"  union  to  fight  for  the  same 
rights  and  salary  as  their  City  employee 
counterparts  doing  the  exact  same  work 
receive).  To  make  people  more  aware  of 
the  issues  and  get  them  directly  involved, 
Skurnik  and  Leichter  are  enlisting  an 
army   of  workfare   workers    to   hit   the 


streets,  set  up  screenings  in  community 
centers,  hold  discussions,  and  take  imme- 
diate actions.  One  example  Skurnik  cites 
would  be  holding  a  protest  immediately 
after  a  screening  at  a  college  where  WEP 
workers  are  being  forced  to  clean,  instead 
of  receiving  educations.  The  outrage 
would  be  fueled,  he  says,  by  the  knowl- 
edge that  18,000  people  have  been  forced 
to  drop  out  of  college  in  order  to  fulfill 
their  workfare  obligations. 

Skurnik  and  Leichter  will  also  pursue 
television  distribution  (the  documentary 
was  funded  by  ITVS  and  several  small 
foundations,  and  will  be  offered  to  PBS 
stations  this  year).  But  from  the  start,  the 
project  has  been  about  learning  from,  and 
directly  involving  people  in  workfare, 
rather  than  speaking  down  to  them  or 
reducing  them  to  facts  and  figures.  "One 
of  the  main  reasons  we  made  the  film  was 
to  allow  people  who  are  in  the  workfare 
program  to  tell  their  side  of  the  story," 
Leichter  says.  "Welfare  recipients  have 
always  been  numbers,  statistics,  or  small 
anecdotes  in  TV  segments.  To  make  them 
real  people  and  to  get  to  know  them  is 
critical,  so  the  audience  says,  'Oh,  this  is 
what  a  single  mother  on  welfare  has  to  go 
through.'  Or  'This  guy  got  out  of  workfare 
and  became  an  organizer,  but  he's  dealing 
with  some  stuff  that  is  really  hard  for  him.' 
That's  the  only  way  we're  gonna  touch 
people.  [Viewers]  may  respond  to  the 
issues,  but  they'll  respond  more  to  who 
these  people  are." 


What  caught  Leichter  and  Skurnik 
somewhat  by  surprise,  however,  was  just 
how  loud  and  eloquent  the  voices  of  those 
people  could  potentially  be.  People  like 
Juan  Galan,  who  helped  create  the  first 
WEP  union  under  the  threat  of  partici- 
pants losing  their  welfare  benefits  com- 
pletely. Galan  has  gone  on  to  establish  a 
career  as  a  powerful  organizer  of  Latinos 
in  the  restaurant  and  hotel  industry.  The 
story  of  his  personal  evolution,  and  similar 
stories  from  other  men  and  women  in  the 
documentary,  serve  as  much  more  than  a 
pleasant  backdrop  to  the  political  issues. 
In  a  sense,  they  are  the  crux  of  A  Day's 
Work,  A  Day's  Pay.  Yet  that  fact  has  also 
made  the  film  more  complex  for  Skurnik 
and  Leichter  to  handle. 

"After  we  looked  at  media  coverage  and 
the  kind  of  people  [the  media]  were 
choosing  to  interview,  who  were  almost 
always  portrayed  as  victims  of  poverty  or 
of  the  system,  we  very  consciously  decid- 
ed to  portray  our  characters  as  agents  of 
their  own  fate,"  Skurnik  says.  "Our  chal- 
lenge now  in  the  edit  room  is  how  much 
of  the  film  is  about  the  characters  and 
how  much  is  about  the  workfare  issues?" 

Former  classmates,  Leichter  and 
Skurnik  both  come  from  strong  political 
activist  backgrounds.  They  were  re-intro- 
duced while  working  on  separate  produc- 
tion projects  and  decided  to  collaborate 
on  a  project.  Each  came  up  with  a  list  of 
possible  ideas,  most  of  which  pertained  to 
social  issues.  "Workfare  was  a  common 
interest  that  seemed  to  have  the  most  to 
offer  as  a  social-issue  documentary, 
because  so  much  was  happening  at  the 
time,"  Skurnik  says.  Yet  while  working  on 
this  film,  Leichter  and  Skurnik  have  also 
had  the  pleasure  of  standing  back  and  let- 
ting their  subjects  educate  them  as  to 
what  "activism"  truly  entails. 

As  Juan  Galan  says  in  bitter  frustration 
during  one  particularly  powerful  scene: 
"To  really  face  something  in  the  eye  is  one 
of  the  scariest  things  you  will  ever  do.  You 
find  out  a  lot  about  your  fears,  your 
detects,  and  a  lot  ot  times  you  can  only 
take  a  quick  glimpse,  then  turn  away 
because  you're  scared  of  it.  You  rc.ilK  are." 

Mint  Leaf  Productions  can  he  contact- 
ed at:  (212)  952-0121.  For  further  info.: 
www.pbs.org  rromswastikatojimcrow 

Richard  Baimbridge  served  as  managing 

editor  for  this  issue  of  The  Independent. 


March  2001   THE    INDEPENDENT      15 


AMERICAN    MONTAGE    INC 


*k* 


■I 


Steven  Fischkr  & 
Joel  Sucker 

FROM  SWASTIKA  TO  JIM  CROW 

by  Aaron  Krach 


the  routes  and  rewards  of  this  cross-cul- 
tural experience,  then  follows  the  fate 
of  these  scholars  as  the  Black  Power 
movement  changed  the  tone  of  these 
colleges  during  the  sixties. 
Under  the  auspices  of  their  production 
company,  Pacific  Street  Films,  Sucher 
and  Fischler  worked  for  the  first  few 


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The  history  of  race  relations  in 
America  is  filled  with  bizarre  and 
painful  twists.  Just  when  tensions 
seem  to  be  cooling,  a  burst  of  anger 
or  hatred  can  flare  up.  During  the 
1990s,  while  President  Clinton  was 
throwing  his  weight  behind  a  presi- 
dential commission  on  race,  African 
American  and  Jewish  relations 
became  particularly  strained  over 
the  anti-Semitic  rhetoric  of  extreme 
black  leaders.  The  inflammatory 
speeches  of  Nation  of  Islam  leader 
Khalil  Mohammed  at  Howard  University, 
for  instance,  upset  many.  One  man 
named  John  Herz,  a  professor  at  Howard 
during  the  1940s,  decided  to  write  a  let- 
ter to  the  New  York  Times  about  his  feel- 
ings. 

Filmmakers  Joel  Sucher  and  Steven 
Fischler  of  Westchester,  New  York,  vivid- 
ly remember  reading  that  letter.  "It  said,  T 
remember  when  Black  colleges  extended 
a  hand  to  refugee  Jewish  scholars,' 
Sucher  recalls.  "And  the  writer  went  on 
to  cite  his  own  experience  teaching  at 
Howard  University  in  the  1940s,  being  a 
refugee  from  Germany.  The  writer  turned 
out  to  live  in  Scarsdale,  only  about  five 
minutes  away  from  our  office.  In  the  clos- 
ing paragraph,  he  cited  a  book,  From 
Swastika  to  Jim  Crow,  written  by  Gabriel 
Edgcomb,  chronicling  some  of  the  stories 
of  these  refugee  scholars.  We  contacted 
Herz  with  some  difficulty  and  got  copies 
of  the  book."  And  thus  began  Sucher  and 
Fischler's  eponymously  named  documen- 
tary, which  aired  on  PBS  in  February. 

Using  archival  footage  and  talking 
heads,  the  hour-long  film  looks  at  a  little - 
known  chapter  in  both  Jewish  and  Black 
history.  Escaping  Nazism,  dozens  of 
Jewish  scholars  fled  to  the  U.S.,  but, 
despite  impeccable  academic  credentials, 
most  were  rebuffed  by  white  universities. 
Many  eventually  found  new  homes  at  the 
rising  Black  colleges.  The  film  looks  at 


years  on  their  own.  Then  they  brought  in 
director  Laurie  Cheatle  and  editor  Marty 
Taub. 

As  filmmaking  partners,  Sucher  and 
Fischler  have  been  making  socially-con- 
scious films  since  1969.  From  Swastika  to 
Jim  Crow  fit  perfectly  into  their  resume  of 
social  justice  films  like  The  Imprisonment 
of  Martin  Sostre  (1974)  and  Anarchism  in 
America  (1981).  In  spite  of  their  experi- 
ence and  success — the  duo  has  won 
Guggenheim  Fellowships,  Emmy  Awards, 
Cine  Golden  Eagles,  and  the  John 
Grierson  Award  for  Social  Document- 
aries— making  From  Swastika  to  Jim  Crow 
was  not  easy.  In  fact,  it  took  almost  six  years. 

"One  program  officer  at  the  Corpor- 
ation for  Public  Broadcasting  basically 
said,  'Oh  it  sounds  like  a  good  print  arti- 
cle,' "  Sucher  recalls.  "Jewish  foundations 
tend  to  be  conservative,  especially  when 
it  comes  to  film.  We  were  lucky  that  the 
Litutia  Littauer  Foundation  gave  us  a  few 
grand  to  commence  production  in  1996. 
Then  the  National  Foundation  for  Jewish 
Culture  came  through  with  another  rela- 
tively large  grant."  Later,  he  continues, 
"we  were  able  to  get  the  finishing  funds 
from  ITVS,  but  [the  whole  fundraising 
process]  wasn't  easy." 

Far  easier  was  getting  the  students  and 
professors  to  reminisce.  A  recurring  emo- 
tion seen  throughout  the  film  is  gratitude. 
The  professors  express  gratitude  to  the 


16    THE    INDEPENDENT     March  2001 


Black  colleges  for  hiring  them  after  their 
expulsions  from  Germany.  They  are  also 
grateful  to  the  students  for  adopting  them 
as  their  teachers.  The  students  inter- 
viewed are  equally  moved  to  remember 
their  favorite  professors. 

"Everyone  was  extremely  open  and 
excited  to  have  this  particular  history 
documented,"  says  Fischler,  "from  the  sur- 
viving refugee  scholars  and  their  family 
members  to  the  students  who  saw  it  as  a 
chance  to  document  a  unique  and  impor- 
tant history.  A  lot  of  the  scholars  didn't 
realize  they  were  part  of  a  movement, 
because  so  much  of  this  happened  on  an 
individual,  ad-hoc  basis.  So  not  until  you 
stand  back  and  get  some  perspective  do 
you  recognize  this  is  more  important  than 
just  individual  stories." 

To  Fischler  and  Sucher,  documentary 
filmmaking  is  bigger  than  individual  sto- 
ries as  well.  "Our  point  of  view,  ever  since 
we  started  making  social  issue  films,"  says 
Sucher,  "is  that  documentary  films  should 
be  used  to  provoke  or  trigger  thinking  and 
discussion  of  relevant  issues — in  this  case, 
racism  and  Black-Jewish  relations." 

To  this  end,  the  filmmakers  have  been 
taking  their  film  on  the  road,  in  concert 
with  ITVS'  outreach  program,  screening 
it  to  mixed  audiences  and  holding  discus- 
sions afterwards.  "We  like  to  have  these 
screenings  co-sponsored  by  different  orga- 
nization," says  Sucher.  "For  example,  we 
just  did  one  in  Baltimore  that  was  spon- 
sored by  the  Jewish  Museum  in  Baltimore 
and  the  Maryland  NAACR  There's  a 
study  guide  that's  been  written  and  dis- 
tributed by  the  Anti-Defamation  League 
for  use  in  these  screening  discussions.  A 
number  are  being  coordinated  with  the 
PBS  broadcast." 

It  is  exactly  this  kind  of  extra- cinemat- 
ic experience  that  has  kept  Sucher  and 
Fischler  motivated  over  the  last  30  years. 
"We  have  a  social/political  commitment 
to  certain  themes  and  ideas  which  we  get 
to  put  into  practice  [through  filmmak- 
ing]," says  Fischler.  "Where  else  do  you 
get  that  opportunity?" 

For  more  information  on  From  Swastika 
to  ]im  Crow,  contact:  Pacific  Street  Films, 
579  Broadway,  Hastings-on-Hudson,  NY 
1 0706;  www.pacificstreetfilms.com 

Aaron  Krach  writes  regularly  about  film.  His  last 

article  for  The  Independent  was  about  the 

docuvientary  Keep  the  River  on  Your  Right  in 

December  2000. 


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"I  HAD  ALL  THESE  MISCONCEPTIONS  ABOUT 
migrant  life,"  mediamaker  Hannah  Weyer 
admits,  "and  she  continues  to  dash 
those."  Weyer  is  talking  about 
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at  the  center  of  her  video  La  Boda. 
Weyer  spent  about  two  years  docu- 
menting the  everyday  life  of  the 
Luis  family,  American  citizens  who 
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Mexico  as  migrant  laborers.  The 
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documentary  about  the  wedding 
(La  Boda)  of  this  young  woman  to 
Artemio  Guerrero,  also  a  migrant 
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on  video,  it  focuses  on  preparations 
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real  subject  Elizabeth's  attempt  to  create 
a  life  for  herself,  to  come  fully  into  adult- 
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part  of  a  very  supportive  community, 
although  their  lifestyle  is  often  defined  by 
distance  and  separation.  La  Boda  is, 
above  all,  a  family  chronicle,  seen 
through  the  eyes  of  an  oldest  daughter  on 
the  eve  of  her  wedding. 

This  intimate  and  engaging  documen- 
tary, which  played  widely  on  the  festival 
circuit,  is  now  heading  into  schools 
through  various  outreach  programs,  and 
is  feeding  directly  into  the  director's  next 
project,  a  documentary  tentatively  called 
La  Escuela  ("the  school").  The  sequel  will 
have  Elizabeth's  younger  sister  Lilliana  at 
its  center.  "The  story  is  much  broader  in 
scope,"  Weyer  says,  "because  one  of  the 
main  threads  is  the  public  school  system 
and  how  it  deals  with  migrant  students 
and  bi-lingual  education." 

Ironically,  when  Weyer  first  started  this 
enterprise,  she  had  no  intention  of  mak- 
ing a  documentary.  Her  experience  had 
been  with  dramatic  fiction — the  feature 


Arresting  Gena  (1997)  and  the  widely 
exhibited  short  The  Salesman  and  Other 
Adventures   (1994).  For  her  next  pro- 
ject, Weyer  originally  planned  to  make 
a  feature  about  the  border,  one  that 
mixed  fiction  and  documentary.  While 
scouting  for  that  project,  she  met  the 
Luis  family.  "As  I  was  still  working  on  a 
larger  screenplay,  I  just  kept  going  back 
to  visit  them,  and  they  ended  up  invit- 
ing me  to  come  to  Texas,"  she  recalls.  As 
prospects  for  the  feature  began  to  dwin- 
dle, Weyer  continued  to  visit  the  Luis 
family,  and  the  idea  of 
a  documentary  began 
to    take    hold.    "The 
more  I  spent  time  with 
them,        the        more 
[Elizabeth's]  story  took 
over,"  says  Weyer.  The 
daughter's  wedding  ul- 
timately      was       the 
device  that  could  tie 
together  all  the  film's 
characters  and  themes. 
Weyer  is  now  doing 
quite  a  bit  of  outreach 
to  youth.  The  video  is  slated  to  play  at  the 
National  Migrant  Conference  later  this 
month  in  Orlando,  Florida,  where  she'll 
run  a  workshop  on  how  to  use  La  Boda  in 
the  classroom.  She  is  also  hard  at  work 
preparing  a  study  guide,  which  she  hopes 
will  help  the  film  become  part  of  curricu- 
la all  over  the  country,  especially  in  places 
that  have  less  experience  with  migrant 
workers.  "A  lot  of  these  school  districts  in, 
say,  Minnesota  or  Georgia,  are  totally  not 
equipped  yet,"  Weyer  says.  "La  Boda  could 
be  '  a   starting   point,    and   especially  La 
Escuela  later  on." 

To  help  facilitate  the  documentaries' 
classroom  use,  Weyer  plans  to  break  them 
down  into  shorter  units.  "I'd  like  to  make 
three  or  tour  versions  of  a  10-minute 
video  tool,  each  one  assisting  a  different 
group,"  she  says.  For  example,  one  might 
be  for  a  teacher's  college  whose  alumni 
are  likely  to  work  in  regions  with  a  high 
percentage  of  migrant  families.  "That  tool 
would  specifically  address  the  things  that 
migrant  students  need,  but  they'd  be  told 
from  the  point  of  view  of  the  student,"  the 
director  explains.  That  tape  might  include 
footage  from  La  Boda  or  La  Escuela  of  a 
student  talking  about  his  or  her  everyday 
life.  "Another  version  would  be  a  10-  to 


18     THE    INDEPENDENT     March  2001 


15-minute  tape  that  could  be  used  in 
junior  high  school  classes  to  help  sensitize 
the  communities  who  wonder,  'Who  are 
these  kids?  What  do  they  want?'  " 

Study  guides  for  La  Boda  are  being  pre- 
pared in  collaboration  with  the  Human 
Rights  Watch  Film  Festival,  which  also 
helped  bring  the  video  to  two  Brooklyn 
high  schools,  El  Puente  and  Global.  "One 
of  the  schools  wantedto  focus  on  global- 
ization," Weyer  recalls,  who  at  that  point 
realized  her  agenda  in  making  the  film 
might  not  directly  coincide  with  that  of 
teachers  who  show  the  film.  "Then  the 
question  becomes,  'How  do  you  use  a  film 
about  a  very  personal  story  and  not  objec- 
tify these  very  real  people"  when  dealing 
with  them  on  a  political  level? 

That  question  was  also  on  her  mind  at 
the  Human  Rights  Watch  Film  Festival 
last  June.  At  one  screening  when 
Elizabeth  and  Artemio  were  present,  the 
audience  asked  clearly  political  questions. 
"It  was  hard  on  her,"  Weyer  recalls, 
"because  I  don't  think  she's  a  political 
person" — a  fact  that's  evident  in  the  film. 
Nonetheless,  "the  audience  wanted  her  to 
be  politicized;  they  wanted  to  politicize 
her."  This  felt  inorganic  to  Weyer,  who 
didn't  conceive  of  La  Boda  as  an  activist 
film.  "That's  not  how  I  like  to  tell  stories." 

Indeed,  rather  than  starting  from  a 
desire  to  directly  effect  political  change, 
it's  clear  that  Weyer  made  the  film 
because  she  thinks  Elizabeth's  life  is  a 
worthwhile  and  revealing  story.  For 
Weyer,  the  events  leading  up  to  the  mar- 
riage were  full  of  conflicted  feelings  about 
familial  loyalty  and  independence,  of  the 
giddy  anticipation  of  starting  a  life  with 
someone,  and  of  the  realization  that  living 
your  life  between  cultures  and  places 
offers  as  much  as  it  demands.  Commun- 
icating those  issues  was  itself  a  significant 
contribution  to  understanding  migrant 
life.  "There  are  different  ways  to  be  polit- 
ical," she  concludes. 

La  Boda  is  distributed  by  Women  Make 
Movies  [laboda@wmm.com] .  For  further 
information  on  this  and  La  Escuela,  con- 
tact: Border  Pictures,  Inc.,  241  Eldridge 
St.  #3F,  New  York,  10002;  (212)  642- 
5914;  hannahweyer@hotmail.com 

Jerry  White  is  a  Killiam  doctoral  fellow  m 

Comparative  Literature  at  the 

University  of  Alberta. 


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March  THE    INDEPENDENT      19 


Air  Raids 

L.A.  Freewaves' 
Celebration  of  Experimental 
Media  Arts 

by   Jim    Moran 


Since  1989,  L.A.  Freewaves  has  been 
raiding  institutions  dominated  by  tradi- 
tional art  and  commercial  entertainment 
in  an  effort  to  find  alternative  spaces  for 
the  public  display  of  experimental  media 
in  Southern  California.  Once  again  this 
indomitable  organization  has  bucked  the 
system  with  Air  Raids,  its  seventh  festi- 
val, held  last  fall  throughout  the  month  of 
November.  Miraculously,  as  venues  for 
socially  and  formally  challenging  work 
dwindle,  executive  director  Anne  Bray 
and  festival  director  JoAnn  Hanley  man- 
aged to  ferret  out  a  number  of  unusual 
and  imaginative  spaces  for  their  city-wide 
event,  testifying  to  their  determination 
and  creativity. 

Some  of  the  quirkier  affairs  included 
the  "MacadamFest,"  a  film  and  video 
drive-in  hosted  at  the  Rose  Bowl  in 
Pasadena,  which  typically  schedules 
sporting  events.  Equally  unconventional, 
the  festival's  finale  was  held  at  the 
Vermont  Music  Cafe,  a  traditional 
karaoke  club  in  Koreatown,  where 
patrons  could  view  new  work  by  Nam 
June  Paik  from  comfortable  couches  in 
their  own  private  viewing  rooms.  And 
throughout  the  festival,  Tony  Cokes 
beamed  30- second  video  segments  from 
electronic  billboards  in  Hollywood, 
appropriating  the  language  of  advertising 
to  critique  the  interactions  of  desire  and 
commerce  in  capitalist  culture. 

Defying  expectations  has  always  been 
the  hallmark  of  Freewaves  festivals.  They 
might  ask,  "Why  confine  digital  art  solely 
to  the  diminutive  monitor?"  then  answer 
it  spectacularly  by  something  like  "Images 
We  Want  to  See  Big,"  an  installation  at 
the  MOCA  Geffen  Contemporary. 
Projecting  works  on  the  walls  of  the 
museum,  this  show  burst  the  confines  of 
typical  video  venues  by  appropriating  the 
larger-than-life  stimulus  of  cinema. 
Moving  through  a  cavernous  space  remi- 


niscent of  Plato's  cave,  spectators  inter- 
mittently cast  their  own  shadows  against 
floor-to-ceiling  visions  projected  from 
behind.  Among  the  works  projected  were 
Shawn  Chapelle's  Far  Reaches,  in  which 
science  and  the  occult  merge  in  a  cabala 
of  colliding  images  traversing  the  outer 
limits  and  internal  recesses  of  time,  space, 
religion,  technology,  and  anatomy.  James 
Elaine  and  William  Basinski's  Fountain 
made  literal  the  metaphor  of  electronic 
flow  by  magnifying  images  of  water  to 
refract  an  undulating  prism  of  rainbow 
colors.  And  Steina's  Warp,  a  delirious 
exercise  in  digital  manipulation,  trans- 
formed the  pedestrian  movements  of  the 
human  body  into  an  exotic,  hyperbolic 
dance  of  uncommon  grace. 

Reprising  the  popular  video  bus  tours  of 
1998,    this   year's   screening-rooms- on- 

Milla  Moilanen's  animated  film  Wanted,  which  screened  in 
late  19th  century  archival  materials. 


wheels  once  again  navigated  land- 
marks generally  bypassed  on  com- 
mercial tours  of  Southern 
California,  from  hidden  labor  in 
Los  Angeles  to  forgotten  histories 
in  Echo  Park.  Spaces  literally 
"came  out"  during  the  Queer  Star 
Maps  tour.  Acting  as  guide 
Outfest  programmer  Desiree 
Buford  pointed  out  important 
sites  in  L.A.'s  queer  history, 
including  hot  nightclubs,  headquarters  of 
gay  and  lesbian  cooperatives,  and  the  Will 
Rogers  park  in  Beverly  Hills,  where  curi- 
ous tourists  got  off  the  bus  to  photograph 
the  men's  room  where  George  Michael 
was  arrested  for  illicit  exposures  of  his 
own.  During  the  excursion,  a  program  of 
six  shorts  celebrated  queer  icons  such  as 


Judy  Garland  (Mark  Bowes'  Get  Happy  or 
the  Night  Judy  Garland  Started  a  Riot), 
Lupe  Velez  (Rita  Gonzalez's  The 
Assumption  of  Lupe  Velez),  and  Joe 
Dellasandro  (Steve  Kokker's  Happiness  Is 
Just  a  Thing  Called  Joe) .  Of  special  note 
was  Pratibha  Parmar's  documentary  Jodie: 
An  Icon,  which  thoroughly  examined  the 
process  by  which  lesbian  spectators  have 
psychologically  constructed  Jodie  Foster's 
onscreen  persona  into  a  cinematic  object 
of  desire  capable  of  transforming  appar- 
ently heterosexual  narratives  into  latent 
homoerotic  encounters. 

Moving  from  physical  neighborhoods  to 
the  virtual  communities  of  the  Internet, 
"Street  Action  on  the  Superhighway," 
held  at  the  UCLA  EDA  space,  presented 
an  intellectually  provocative  demonstra- 
tion of  Net  Art  that  was  simultaneously 
streamed  on 
the  "Altered"  program,  utilizes  the  web.  The 

panelists 

demonstrated 
various  tactics 
for  trespassing 
into  politically 
charged 
spheres  of  cul- 
tural practice 
by  traversing 
virtual  spaces 
with  uninvited 
interventions. 
Among       the 


Some  of  the  quirkier  affairs 

included  the  "MacadamFest,"  a 

film  and  video  drive-in  hosted  at 

the  Rose  Bowl  in  Pasadena,  and 

the  festival's  finale,  held  at  the 

Vermont  Music  Cafe,  a  traditional 

Karaoke  club  in  Koreatown. 


engaging  "hacktivists"  who  specialize  in 
electronic  civil  disobedience,  Cornelia 
Sollfrank  of  the  Old  Boys  Network  dis- 
cussed her  1997  project  to  infiltrate  a 
Hamburg  fine  art  museum's  first  spon- 
sored Internet  art  competition  with  300 
falsified  submissions  by  fictional  female 
artists.    Mervin  Jarman,    creator   of  the 


20     THE    INDEPENDENT     March  2001 


Container  Project,  related  his  efforts  to 
provide  diverse  Jamaican  communities 
with  free  access  to  computer  equipment. 
And  Ricardo  Dominguez  of  the  Electronic 
Disturbance  Theater  demonstrated 
FloodNet  software  developed  to  deny  users 
access  to  politically  targeted  web  sites. 

This  year's  14  video  programs  were 
lucky  enough  to  be  screened  at  Side  Street, 
a  relatively  new  downtown  organization 
boasting  state-of-the-art  projection  and 
audio  facilities.  Curated  according  to  com- 
mon themes  rather  than  genres  or  formats, 
each  program's  individual  works 
approached  the  topic  from  multiple  per- 
spectives, offering  a  heady  blend  of  fact 
and  fiction,  narrative  and  collage,  figure 
and  abstraction,  humor  and  sobriety.  From 
Chicano  visions  and  labor  issues  to  youth 
culture  and  pornography,  this  eclectic 
smorgasbord  offered  something  for  every- 
one while  managing  to  avoid  the  blandly 
predictable.  Two  outstanding  works  worth 
special  mention  are  Milla  Moilanen's 
Wanted,  a  fluid,  polished  piece  of  anima- 
tion based  on  late  19  century  archival 
materials  designed  to  establish  ethnic  pro- 
files rooted  in  biology.  Set  to  a  haunting 
score,  the  video  reverses  notions  of  racial 
superiority  by  illustrating  the  beauty  of 
human  diversity.  The  other,  Chris  Wilcha's 
The  Target  Shoots  First,  is  a  video  diary  of 
epic  proportions.  Bringing  his  camcorder 
to  work  every  day  at  his  first  job  with 
Columbia  House,  the  former  punk  rocker 
manages  to  expose  the  human  foibles, 
bureaucratic  absurdities,  and  plays  for 
power  that  typify  corporate  America — all 
with  sharp  insight  and  slacker  irony. 

Interrogating  the  mainstream  is,  after 
all,  a  primary  goal  of  Freewaves.  As  the  so- 
called  independent  film  and  video  scene  in 
Los  Angeles  blurs  into  boutique  divisions 
of  Hollywood  studios,  Air  Raids  remained 
true  to  the  original  spirit  of  independence 
defined  by  the  pioneers  of  New  American 
Cinema:  independent  not  merely  finan- 
cially, but  aesthetically,  politically,  and  ide- 
ologically as  well.  Fearlessly  taking  risks, 
the  artists  showcased  throughout  the  festi- 
val celebrate  new  ways  of  seeing,  while 
Bray  and  Hanley  invite  new  ways  of  being 
seen.  The  result  is  truly  visionary. 

Jim  Moran  is  a  writer,  teacher,  and  consultant  in 

Los  Angeles.  He  has  published  in  Film  Quarterly, 

Wide  Angle,  Filmmaker,  and  RES  magazines 

and  is  currently  writing  a  book  on  amateur  video 

for  the  University  of  Minnesota  Press. 


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HIGH  LIGHTS 

Telluride  s  Experimental 
Cinema  Exposition 

BY    M.M    Serra 


After  a  12 -hour,  multi-leg  travel 
nightmare,  I  arrived  at  the  first  Telluride 
International  Experimental  Cinema 
Exposition  (TIE),  held  on 
Halloween  weekend.  Exquisitely 
beautiful,  Telluride  is  nestled  in  the 
Uncomphagre  Mountains,  and  the 
autumn  leaves  enhanced  the  magi- 
cal setting.  TIE  founder 
Christopher  May  told  me  that  he 
selected  Telluride  because  it  is 
"hard  to  forget"  and  "hard  to  tra- 
verse." May,  who  has  attended  the 
better-known  Telluride  Film 
Festival  for  the  last  several  years, 
noted  that  Telluride's  seclusion  ensures 
the  dedication  and  passion  of  the  festival 
participants.  May  wanted  to  create  an 
experimental  festival  not  focused  on 
"stars',  money,  and  marketing,"  but  driven 
by  passion  for  the  "creative  process"  and 
the  "personal  vision  of  film  artists."  I  pre- 
sented a  program  that  reflected  my  own 
passion,  a  historical  overview  of  sexually 
explicit  films  by  women  artists,  including 
Barbara  Rubin,  Carolee  Schneemann, 
Abigail  Child,  Peggy  Ahwesh,  and  myself. 

May  works  for  Maverick  Records 
(Madonna's  label)  as  a  regional  represen- 
tative in  Colorado,  but  is  also  a  filmmaker 
and  used  strips  of  his  own  films  to  make 
the  festival  passes.  He  selected  the  festival 
films  himself  after  posting  a  call  for  entries 
on  the  Internet.  Only  submissions  on  film 
were  accepted — no  videos,  digital  works, 
or  otherwise.  Through  the  Internet,  May 
also  found  Courtney  Hoskins,  who  curat- 
ed  a  program  of  classic  avant-garde  films 
by  Maya  Deren,  Kenneth  Anger,  and  Stan 
Brakhage  as  a  fundraiser,  but  May  provid- 
ed the  majority  of  the  funding  out  of  his 
own  pocket,  ending  up  thousands  of  dol- 
lars in  debt  to  realize  his  dream. 

One  of  the  festival  highlights  was  a 
workshop  for  children  organized  by 
Hoskins.  Children  from  eight  to  1 1  years 
old  created  films  by  scratching  and  paint- 
ing on  the  film  surface.  Their  films  were 
then  projected  at  the  main  festival. 
Colorado  native  Jim  Otis  presented  a  pro- 


gram of  his  masterful  landscape  films,  as 
well  as  his  Vervielfaltigung,  which  synthe- 
sizes human  body  types  to  a  musical  tone. 
I  was  particularly  impressed  by  the  pro- 
gram of  experimental  35mm  films  because 
of  its  aesthetic  diversity  and  range  of 
vision.  Especially  outstanding  was  Nicole 
Koschmann's  Fishing  for  Brad,  which  she 
describes  as  "a  provocative  look  into 
human  sexuality  [that]  juxtaposes  two 
seemingly   unrelated   images    [an   erotic 


The  eternally  picturesque  town  of  Telluride,  nestled 
high  in  the  Rocky  Mountains  of  Colorado. 

dancer  and  a  man  fishing],  [forcing]  one 
to  question  the  nature  of  desire."  In  all, 
the  festival  included  over  170  films  from 
dozens  of  countries,  including  France, 
Finland,  Canada,  Germany,  the  Nether- 
lands, Argentina,  and  Mexico. 

A  truly  unique  festival,  the  Cinema 
Expo  packed  the  most  possible  screenings 
into  the  least  amount  of  time.  Although 
the  relentless  succession  of  films  was  a  bit 
dizzying  at  times,  I  ultimately  enjoyed  the 
total  immersion  in  cinema.  Most  of  the 
filmmakers  were  actually  present,  provid- 
ing an  opportunity  for  prolonged  discus- 
sions spanning  successive  days.  Kathryn 
Ramey,  who  showed  her  haunting  film 
Razed  by  Wolves,  said  her  "only  negative 
critique  is  that  there  was  no  structured 
discussion  time  where  filmmakers  could 
have  a  sort  of  roundtable  about  the  work 
and/or  current  events  in  the  experimental 
film  world."  Ramey  proposed  "an  opening 
night  schmooze -fest  where  filmmakers 
can  meet  and  greet."  I  agree  and  would 
further  suggest  that  experimental  film- 
makers and  the  film  community  at  large 
should  support  this  promising  festival 
both  financially  and  actively,  so  that  it  will 
continue  in  the  future. 

M.M.  Serra  is  a  film/video  artist,  teacher, 

curator,  and  director  of  Film-makers' 

Cooperative  in  New  York. 


22    THE    INDEPENDENT     March  2001 


Doclands  in  Dublin 


A  New  Market  Debuts 


Y     DONAL    O'CEILLEACHAIR 


Walking  through  Dublin's  Temple  Bar 
neighborhood,  one  hears  almost  as  many 
foreign  languages  as  one  would  expect  on 
Manhattan's  Broadway,  and  there's  barely 
an  Irish  accent  to  be  found  amongst  the 
employees  of  local  stores.  Dublin  is  the 
city  where  we  once  joked,  "We're  not 
European;  we're  Irish,"  but  today  the  city 
is  living  up  to  its  reputation  as  one  of 
Europe's  more  prosperous,  vibrant,  and 
cosmopolitan  cultural  centers. 

One  sign  of  this  is  Doclands,  Ireland's 
first-ever  festival  and  market  dedicated  to 
documentary  film.  The  three-day  event, 
which  took  place  in  Temple  Bar  from 
October  24-26,  boasted  an  impressive 
schedule  of  23  films,  including  three 
world  premieres,  11  Irish  premieres,  and 
an  Albert  Maysles  retrospective.  It  also 
offered  a  documentary  market,  parallel 
industry  seminars,  and  a  masterclass  with 
Maysles  for  young  Irish  filmmakers. 

The  festival's  impetus  was  a  request  for 
proposals  circulated  by  the  Irish  Film 
Board,  based  upon  calls  for  a  dedicated 
documentary  event  "made  by.  .  .  produc- 
ers at  a  Film  Board  documentary  policy 
discussion  in  November,  1999,"  according 
to  Rod  Stoneman,  chief  executive  of  the 
Irish  Film  Board. 

Less  than  a  year  later,  the  festival  had 
been  pulled  together  by  the  Dublin-based 
events  facilitator  Ion  Entertainment.  The 
program  included  an  eclectic  blend  of 
international  documentaries,  including 
Gaea  Girls  (U.K.),  award-winning  direc- 
tor Kim  Longinotto's  film  on  Japanese 
female  wrestlers;  Images  of  a  Dictatorship 
(Chile/Canada),  Patricio  Henriquez's 
powerful  film  on  Pinochet's  regime  in 
Chile;  The  Holy  Brotherhood  of  Steam  & 
Agony  (Finland),  Heikki  Kujanpaa's 
account  of  legendary  hot  sauna  bather 
Kake  and  his  preparations  for  the  sauna 
world  championships;  and  Chris  Smith's 
Sundance  1999  award-winner  American 
Movie. 

Doclands  also  provided  an  important 
showcase  for  new  Irish  documentaries, 
both  powerful  television  documentaries 
and  potential  theatrical  releases.  May  the 


Road  Rise  Up,  the  result  of  a  unique  col- 
laboration between  New  York-based  Irish 
photographer  Alen  McWeeney,  acclaimed 
documentary  filmmaker  John  T  Davis, 
and  one  of  Ireland's  foremost  film  editors, 
Se  Merry  Doyle,  was  the  festival's  opening 
film.  Freedom  Highway,  directed  by  Philip 
King,  is  a  dynamic  music  documentary 
that  features  an  impressive  and  diverse 
array  of  musicians,  from  Pete  Seeger  to 
Elvis  Costello,  Emylou  Harris  to  Los 
Lobos,  and  Ruben  Blades  to  a  wailing  Tom 
Waits.  The  documentary  builds  an  effec- 
tive sense  of  the  important  role  of  music 
and  song  in  political  struggles  throughout 
the  twentieth  century.  Talking  to  the  Dead, 


dent,  and  repertory  cinema — a  booking 
due  in  no  small  part,  I  suspect,  to  the  pop- 
ular and  apparently  boundless  entrepre- 
neurial energies  of  its  central  character. 

Particularly  rewarding  was  the  experi- 
ence of  seeing  one  of  the  pioneers  of 
Direct  Cinema,  Albert  Maysles,  interact 
with  a  predominantly  younger  Irish  audi- 
ence. "I  don't  remember  enjoying  seeing 


Merchant's  Arch  in  Dublin's  Temple  Bar  district, 
right  across  from  the  famous  Ha'penny  Bridge. 


Representatives  at  the  Irish  Film  Centre  welcome 
festival-goers  to  Doclands. 


directed  by  documentary  maker  Pat 
Collins  (former  director  of  the  Galway 
Film  Fleadh  festival),  impressively  wrestles 
with  the  ever-present  concept  of  death  in 
Irish  culture  and  the  traditions  surround- 
ing Irish  funerals  from  pagan  times  to  the 
present. 

Shimmy  Marcus'  Aidan  Walsh:  Master  of 
the  Universe  is  a  touching  portrait  of  one  of 
Ireland's  most  eccentric  underground 
characters.  Aidan  Walsh  himself,  dressed 
in  a  psychedelic  cape  and  sporting  a  king's 
crown,  personally  thanked  each  of  the 
audience  members  as  they  entered  and  left 
the  screening.  After  its  festival  screening, 
this  documentary  impressively  began  a 
week-long  theatrical  release  at  the  festi- 
val's main  venue,  the  twin-screen  Irish 
Film  Center  (IFC),  which  is  Ireland's  pri- 
mary venue  for  international,   indepen- 


Salesman  for  such  a  long  time  as  much  as  I 
did  tonight,"  announced  Maysles  as  he 
stood  up  to  thank  the  audience.  How  this 
classic  documentary  can  pack  a  house  of 
enthusiastic  young  Irish  cinema-goers 
over  30  years  after  its  release,  when  it  took 
almost  that  long  for  U.S.  television  to 
broadcast  the  him,  is  one  of  those  endur- 
ing ironies  of  the  documentary  world. 

The  festival  featured  two  industry  sem- 
inars. One  was  on  'Reality  TV'  and  what 
has  come  to  be  known  as  "docusoap"  pro- 
gramming. The  other  was  i  European 
Documentary  Network  (EDN)  Workshop 
on  European  Documentary,  with  a  focus 
on  co-financing  and  distribution.  Tue 
Steen  Miiller,  the  head  ol  1  PN.  look 
attendees  on  a  guided  tour  ot  contempo- 
rary   European    documentaries,    showing 


Maul.   2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      23 


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some  highly  engaging  clips  from  recent 
productions.  Although  Europe  provides  a 
market  that  is  almost  as  large  as  that  in 
the  U.S.,  the  complexities  involved  for 
producers  and  commissioning  agents  alike 
posed  by  a  multitude  of  languages  and 
cultural  borders  were  well  demonstrated 
in  the  seminar.  As  Steven  Seidenberg,  an 
American  producer  based  in  London  for 
over  30  years,  observed,  "It  is  close  to 
impossible  to  fund  a  documentary  out  of  a 
single  country."  Productions  are  subject  to 
the  expensive,  lengthy,  and  time 'Consum- 
ing process  of  coproduction;  it  is  not  that 
uncommon  to  see  a  long  list  of  funding 
credits  at  the  end  of  European  documen- 
taries, and  in  certain  instances  it  is  sur- 
prising where  productions  ended  up  get- 
ting financed.  Despite  the  complexities  of 
international  co-production,  it  was 
encouraging  to  hear  M  tiller  state  that 
"Out  of  the  10  most  popular  Norwegian 
films  shown  theatrically  in  Norway  [last 
year],  four  were  documentaries."  The 
Nordic  countries  apparently  invest  a  lot  of 
resources  into  producing,  distributing,  and 
marketing  their  documentaries,  and  audi- 
ences "don't  care  if  it's  a  documentary  or 
fiction,"  says  Miiller,  as  long  as  they  are 
engaged. 

f\  VITAL  COMPONENT  OF  DOCLANDS  IS 
the  festival  market,  developed  to  present 
"an  opportunity  for  documentary  profes- 
sionals from  Ireland  and  abroad  to  meet 
to  discuss  business  in  an  international 
arena,"  according  to  Doclands  organizers 
Sara  Corcoran  and  Gemma  Dolan.  The 
market  took  place  at  the  Project,  a  nearby 
arts  and  performance  space,  in  an  infor- 
mal cafe  atmosphere  that  allowed  for  easy 
interaction  between  delegates  and  com- 
missioning editors.  In  attendance  were 
over  60  delegates,  the  vast  majority  of 
whom  were  Irish  filmmakers  and  produc- 
ers, plus  16  commissioning  editors  from 
10  key  production/distribution  compa- 
nies. Noticeable  was  the  absence  of  major 
European  commissioning  agents  from 
entities  such  as  Arte,  Canal  Plus,  ZDF,  the 
BBC,  and  Channel  4,  but  with  the  success 
of  Doclands'  first  year,  it  is  hoped  that  its 
reputation  will  spread  and  attract  these 
heavy  hitters  in  the  future.  "[We  were] 
interested  in  examining  the  venue  as  a 
possible  alternative  to  the  currently 
defunct    London   Programme    Market," 


states  Meg  Villarreal,  director  of  Virginia- 
based  U.S.  Independents,  a  cooperative 
organization  that  seeks  to  provide  a  criti- 
cal link  between  producers  and  distribu- 
tors, and  organizes  delegations  of  U.S.- 
based  filmmakers  and  producers  to  attend 
events  such  as  these.  "While  Doclands  is 
not  at  that  level  of  market,  it  does  allow 
ample  opportunities  for  producers  and 
funders  to  meet  and  explore  possibilities 
in  greater  detail  and  depth." 

The  attendance  of  people  like  Villarreal 
and  Betsy  McLane,  former  executive 
director  of  the  International  Document- 
ary Association,  would  suggest  an  increas- 
ing interest  in  the  dialogue  between  U.S., 
Irish,  and  European  producers  and  distrib- 
utors. However,  U.S.  independents  simul- 
taneously face  a  measure  of  concern 
about  Hollywood-type  dominance  in  the 
field  of  documentary.  "Many  European 
broadcasters  don't  like  being  colonized  by 
the  American  market  because  there  are  so 
many  documentary  channels  in  the  U.S. 
already  calling  the  tune,"  states 
Seidenberg.  According  to  Stoneman, 
"Although  I  think  the  work  of  American 
independent  filmmakers  is  very  impor- 
tant, I'd  begin  to  be  more  [open  to]  their 
access  to  European  funding  when  there  is 
some  adequate  degree  of  reciprocity — 
access  to  American  funding  for  European 
documentary  makers." 

Although  there  were  only  a  handful  of 
international  commissioning  editors  in 
attendance,  the  size  and  scheduling  of  the 
event  allowed  for  invaluable  time  to  be 
spent  with  those  who  did  attend.  I'm  not 
sure  whether  delegates  would  have  been 
so  "fortunate  at  the  more  high-profile 
Amsterdam  Forum — and  herein  lies  the 
attraction  of  a  smaller  and  more  intimate 
venue  like  Doclands.  With  the  success  of 
this  first  year,  the  festival  organizers  look 
forward  to  it  becoming  an  important  and 
popular  venue  in  the  European  documen- 
tary circuit  in  the  years  to  come. 

Doclands  can  be  contacted  at 
www.docos.com/doclands 

Donal  O'Ceilleachair  is  an  Irish  filmmaker 
based  in  New  York  who  atterided  Doclands  in 
search  of  completion  funds  for  his  first  feature- 
length  documentary,  Cuzco:  Chronicle  of  a 
City  at  the  End  of  the  Century.  He  is  also 
founder  of  the  Ocularis  venue  in 
Williamsburg,  Brooklyn. 


24    THE    INDEPENDENT     March  2001 


INDIGENOUSLY  YOURS 

The  ImagineNATlVE  Aboriginal  Media  Arts  Festival 

BY    Faye    Ginsburg 


Technology  could  be  a  source  of  genocide  if  we  do 
not  keep  a  balance  within  our  communities. 
Digital  interfaces  could  be  the  new  Indian  Agents 
of  today,  if  we  do  not  recreate  and  nurture  this 
technological  world. 

—  Darlene  Naponse  (Ojibway) 

Welcome  to  ImagineNATIVE,  a  brave 
new  world  in  which  Aboriginal  'warriors' 
hunt  the  heads  of  colonial  statues  across 
Australia  and  'two-spirited'  First  Nations 
people  struggle  to  stay  connected  to  their 
traditional  communities.  From  September 
9-12,  the  ImagineNATIVE  Aboriginal 
Media  Arts  Festival  (www.aboriginal 
media.org)  had  its  debut  in  Toronto,  dur- 
ing the  city's  'other'  film  festival. 


Organized  by  polymath 
artist,  activist,  and  first- 
time  festival  director 
Cynthia  bickers  (Mohawk/ 
Six  Nations),  the  festival  was  an  ambi- 
tious effort  to  screen  works  from  indige- 
nous communities  in  Canada/Nunavut, 
the  U.S.,  Mexico,  Brazil,  Taiwan,  and 
Australia.  The  packed  opening-night 
screening  demonstrated  a  wide  range  of 
genres  and  the  aspiration  of  many  indige- 
nous directors  to  leave  what  some  call 
'the  documentary  ghetto.'  The  possibili- 
ties were  evident  in  the  opening  film 
Blood  River  by  Kent  Monkman,  a  half- 
hour  drama  that  explores  the  enduring 
complexities  of  Native  kinship,  identity, 
and  privilege  that  shapes  the  work  of  so 
many  filmmakers.  Here,  the  story  is  told 
through  the  eyes  of  Rose  (Jennifer  Podem- 
ski),  a  hip  Native  law  student  who  is  dis- 


missive of  the  idyllic  if  boring  life  that  her 
adoptive  mother  (Tantoo  Cardinal)  has 
given  her  until  she  encounters  her  less 
fortunate  biological  brother  who  is  brutal- 
ized as  a  Native  youth  on  the  streets  of 
the  big  city. 

In  addition  to  a  wide  range  of  genres, 
the  festival  also  brought  together  diverse 
indigenous  filmmakers  to  discuss,  strate- 
gize,  and  learn  from  each  others'  experi- 
ences as  artists  and  activists.  It  provided 
multiple  opportunities  for  people  to  meet 
in  professional  workshops  addressing 
issues  such  as  outreach  to  youth,  the  need 
for  mentoring,  the  potential  of  new  media 
to  overcome  geographical  boundaries, 
and  (as  a  case  in  point)  an  inter- 
national video  conference  discus- 
sing the  directions  of  Aboriginal 
media  arts  in  the  next  millenni- 
um. 

Filmmakers  and  actors  present 
from  Canada  included  the 
remarkable  'first  lady'  of  Native 
filmmaking,  Alanis  Obamsawin, 
as  well  as  Loretta  Todd,  Shelly 
Niro,  and  Shirley  Cheechoo,  rep- 
resenting the  next  generation  to 
carry  the  torch,  plus  Jim 
Compton,  program  director  of  the 
fledgling  Abori- 
ginal People's 
Television  Net- 
work, the  first 
national  cable 
channel  devoted  to  (and  run  by)  indige- 
nous people.  In  a  groundbreaking  effort, 
Imagine -NATIVE  also  reached  across  the 
globe  to  indigenous  mediamakers  from 
the  Pacific,  bringing  special  delegations 
from  Taiwan  and  Australia.  In  addition  to 
an  evening  of  performances  hosted  by  the 
Republic  of  China  on  Taiwan,  the 
Taiwanese  filmmaker  U.  Mafu  Balalavi 
showed  several  pieces  produced  at 
Taiwan's  Public  Television  Service 
Foundation  which,  when  it  went  to  air  in 
July  1998,  established  a  regular  forum  for 
Aboriginal  issues,  Face  to  Face  with  the 
Tribes,  and  an  indigenously  produced 
Aboriginal  news  magazine. 

From   Australia,    two    talented    young 


Off  with  their  heads:  The  noggins  of  European 

colonialist  statues  are  severed  in  Sally 

Riley's  Confessions  of  a  Head  Hunter,  an 

Aboriginal  road  movie. 


DeWITT  STERN  GROUP,  Inc. 

CELEBRATING 
100  YEARS  ! 

ENTERTAINMENT  &  MEDIA 
INSURANCE 

420  Lexington  Ave.  New  York,  NY 
Tel:  212-867-3550  Fax:  212-949-4435 


Carol  A.  Bressi  Cilona 

Senior  Vice  President 

212-297-1468 

Jennifer  Brown 

Assistant  Vice  President 

212-297-1445 


NON  LINEAR  /LINEAR 

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March   2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      25 


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503-11  Broadway  Rm.  519,  NYC    212.966.6794 


Australian  producer/directors,  Pauline 
Clague  and  Sally  Riley,  showed  a  selection 
of  short  fiction  pieces  that  skillfully 
employed  humor,  elegant  plotting,  and 
evocative  mise  en  scene  to  address  topics 
as  diverse  as  the  treatment  of  Aboriginal 
soldiers  in  World  War  II  and  the  racial 
tensions  dividing  black  and  white  cattle 
hands.  Riley's  Confessions  of  a  Head 
Hunter  is  an  antic  Aboriginal  road  movie 
in  which  two  young  men  resort  to  'head- 
hunting' to  rectify  the  dishonorable  treat- 
ment of  one  of  their  ancestral  warriors. 
Riley  also  heads  the  Indigenous  Film  Unit 
of  the  Australian  Film  Commission,  which 
has  played  an  instrumental  role  in  nurtur- 
ing the  feature  filmmaking  skills  of  a  new 
generation  of  indigenous  artist- activists. 

While  there  has  been  steady  (if  modest) 
support  in  Australia  for  Aboriginal  media 
in  both  the  outback  and  among  urban 
filmmakers,  Riley  voiced  concerns  about 
who  has  the  right  to  tell  certain  kinds  of 
stories,  a  debate  echoed  by  many  atten- 
dees. Speaking  about  the  concerns  of  the 
'stolen  generation'  of  mixed-race  children 
who  were  taken  from  Aboriginal  mothers, 
Riley  noted,  'First  they  stole  the  children 
and  now  they're  going  to  steal  the  stories 
about  them.  Our  next  big  challenge  is  to 
claim  the  stories.'  The  good  news  is  that  so 
many  indigenous  filmmakers  are  doing 
just  that  in  many  different  kinds  of  pro- 
duction centers,  from  the  community- 
based  Chiapas  Media  Project,  to  indige- 
nous directors  heading  to  Sundance  or 
Cannes. 

Events  and  screenings  were  centralized 
at  the  Marriott  in  downtown  Toronto,  but 
a  number  of  off- site  venues  accommodat- 
ed other  screenings  or  events  co-spon- 
sored with  the  Toronto  International  Film 
Festival.  This  supported  the  ambitious 
programming,  but  also  dissipated  atten- 
dance and  made  it  difficult  to  see  work 
programmed  at  the  same  time,  a  common 
festival  hazard  that  can  be  addressed  easi- 
ly by  setting  up  video  viewing  rooms. 

It  seems  fitting  that  such  a  pioneering 
effort  would  happen  in  Canada,  a  nation 
at  the  forefront  of  First  Nations'  media 
since  the  launch  of  the  Inuit  Broadcasting 
Corporation  in  the  1970s.  Thirty  years 
later,  Canada's  First  Nations  people  have 
again  led  the  way. 

Faye  Ginsburg  is  director  of  the  Center  for  Media 
Culture  and  History  at  New  York  University. 


26     THE    INDEPENDENT     March  2001 


Testing  Testing 


Choosing  the  Right  Radio  Mic 

by   Larry   Loewinger 


"I've  just  passed  the  parking  lot,"  my 
friend  advised  me.  He  was  a  block  and  a 
half  from  my  apartment,  walking  on  the 
streets  of  New  York  City  on  a  cold,  blus- 
tery day  and  talking  into  four  wireless 
microphone  transmitters,  as  tourists' 
heads  turned  from  their  guidebooks  to 
watch  my  muttering  friend.  Back  in  the 
comfort  of  my  apartment,  I  cruised 
through  the  dials  of  the  mixer  to  which 
each  radio  mic  receiver  was  connected. 
The  point  of  this  exercise  was  to  test  the 
mics  for  range  and  audio  quality.  Two 
were  struggling — one  almost  dead,  the 
other  wheezing  and  coughing  the  way 
radio  mics  do.  The  other  two  were  dis- 
playing reasonably  good  manners  with 
only  occasional  drop  outs.  One,  in  fact, 
exhibited  a  surprisingly  stable  signal. 
What  was  significant  was  not  the  fact  that 
these  mics  were  struggling,  but,  even  at 
their  worst,  that  they  were  working  at  all 
in  the  intense  radio-frequency  environ- 
ment that  is  New  York  City. 

The  radio  microphone  systems  we  were 
evaluating,  all  in  the  $1,000  list  price 
range  and  all  intended  for  the  digital 
video  market,  reflect  the  advances  that 
radio  frequency  technology  has  made  in 
the  last  10  years.  By  operating  in  the  Ultra 
High  Frequency  (UHF)  range  (470-806 
Megaherz),  these  devices  were  far  more 
resistant  to  interference  than  the  older 
Very  High  Frequency  (VHF)  units  (150- 
216  Megaherz)  they  have  replaced.  Their 
radio  frequency  (rf)  coverage  has 
increased,  too.  Bear  in  mind  that  we  are 
still  only  talking  about  a  reach  of  some 
300  feet  in  circumference,  but  within 
which  reach  the  rf  signal  is  far  more  sta- 
ble. Wireless  microphone  technology  has 
evolved  to  the  point  that,  in  a  sense,  we 
have  gone  back  to  basics.  The  emphasis  is 
no  longer  on  merely  securing  the  rf  signal 
through  the  use  of  expensive  high-gain 
antennas,  but  rather  on  getting  good 
sound — maximizing  the  sound  quality  of 
the  lavalier  microphone. 


logue  when  a  speaker  close  to  the  subject 
is  unaware  of  being  recorded.  Sometimes 
even  the  subjects  forget  they  are  wearing 
them. 

But  there  are  drawbacks  as  well.  With 
radio  mics  one  loses  a  sense  of  perspective 
or  placement  of  an  actor  or  documentary 
subject  within  the  film  or  video  frame;  the 
sound  is  always  up  front. 
Clothing  noise  is  a  constant 
headache,  especially  when 
multiple  rf  mics  are 
involved.  As  good  as  radio 
mics  have  become,  rf  inter- 
ference can  still  be  a  prob- 
lem. And  radio  mics,  as 
they  invade  the  privacy  of 
the  people  wearing  them, 
require  an  interaction 
(sometimes  unwanted) 
between   the   sound  mixer 


Four  radio  microphone  systems:  (back  left  to 
right),  Audio-Technica  and  Sennheiser; 
(front  left  to  right),  Lectrosonic  and  Sony. 


A  wireless  microphone  system  is 
a  highly  miniaturized  FM  radio 
station.  The  subject  wears  the 
transmitter  which  radiates 
between  50  and  100  milliwatts  of 
rf  power  several  hundred  feet  out 
to  the  receiver,  which  is  somewhere  near 
the  sound  mixer.  Production  radio  micro- 
phones operate  in  the  same  bands  as  do 
television  stations,  both  VHF  (Channels 
2-13)  and  UHF  (Channels  14-80),  only 
in  between  the  TV  channels.  With  the 
advent  of  digital  television,  the  allotted 
bandwidth  for  wireless  microphones  is 
steadily  shrinking.  If  you're  buying  a  used 
rf  mic,  be  careful  not  to  choose  one 
whose  frequency  has  since  been  given 
over  to  digital  TV. 

Production  people  believe  radio  mics 
save  time.  That's  true,  although  it  is 
sometimes  at  the  cost  of  quality.  Wireless 
mics  have  other  advantages  as  well.  They 
convey  dialogue  from  someone  deep  in 
the  frame  who  otherwise  couldn't  be 
recorded.  They  can  enhance  dialogue 
that  is  softly  spoken.  They  can  retrieve 
dialogue  in  a  noisy  situation,  such  as  on 
city  streets.  In  a  documentary  environ- 
ment, radio  mics  allow  you  to  'steal'  dia- 


Microphones  and  accessories  that  are  available  with 
the  digital  video  radio  mics  (from  left  to  right): 
Audio-Technica,  Audio-Technica,  Sony,  Sennheiser,  and 
Lectrosonic.  The  microphones  range  from  $50-$100. 


and  his  or  her  actors  or  subject.  There  are 
actors  who  hate  them  and  will  sabotage 
your  efforts  to  use  them.  Nonetheless, 
hardly  a  film,  TV  show,  or  musical  stage 
performance  can  proceed  without  them. 

What  should  you  look  for  when  buying 
a  radio  microphone.7  Professional  sound 
mixers  today  expect  that  their  radio  mics 
will  be  as  miniaturized  as  possible;  they 
expect  a  balanced  XLR  audio  output, 
detachable  antennas  that  attach  firmly 
and  securely  to  the  units,  a  transmitter 
with  a  reasonably  standard  microphone 
input  connector,  mechanical  ruggedness, 
ease  ot  operation,  comprehensive  meter- 
ing, a  high-quality  diversity  switching  sys 
tem  (more  on  this  below),  frequency 
switching  (agility),  and  a  secure  operating 


March   2001     THE    INDEPENDENT      27 


Got  DocsP... 

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programs  and  producers  ranging  from  Ken  Burns  to  Jon  Else  to  Martin  Scorcese. 
We  would  like  to  hear  about  your  latest  production. 

Please  review  our  catalog  on  our  website  www.csassociates.com 


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Send  VHS  submissions  to  Brian  Gilbert,  Director  of  Acquisitions 


range  of  about  300  feet  in  circumference. 
Most  of  all,  the  rf  microphone  should 
sound  good.  All  these  requirements  come 
at  a  price,  and  the  cost  of  professional 
wireless  microphones  can  be  steep.  A  fre- 
quency agile,  diversity  system  begins  at 
about  $2,300,  and  can  approach  $5,000  at 
the  very  top  end.  If  you're  a  filmmaker  or 
videographer  planning  to  spend  less  than 
$1,000  on  a  wireless  microphone,  what 
compromises  can  you  expect  and  can  you 
live  with  them? 

Due  to  the  rapid  strides  in  rf  technolo- 
gy, wireless  manufacturers  have  been  able 
to  pack  a  lot  of  quality  into  their  low- end 
units.  Menus  rather  than  switches  have 
shrunk  components  and  brought  down 
their  price,  as  have  unbalanced  mini-plug 
audio  outputs  and  receiver  and/or  trans- 
mitter antennas  that  remain  permanently 
attached  to  the  units.  Only  one  of  the  sys- 
tems that  we  examined  works  on  a  diver- 
sity switching  principle.  Diversity  switch- 
ing (usually  shortened  to  "diversity") 
involves  a  method  of  reducing  multi-path 
dropouts  by  utilizing  two  antennas  or 
receivers  that  seamlessly  switch  back  and 
forth  to  eliminate  out  of  phase  rf  signals. 
While  diversity  switching  may  increase 
the  reliable  reach  of  a  radio  mic,  the  pri- 
mary gain  is  in  an  increase  in  rf  reliability 
within  the  system's  operating  range. 
Because  diversity  technology  is  so  reliable, 
it  has  meant  the  beginning  of  the  end  of 
cables  on  a  sound  cart.  There  are  profes- 
sional mixers  I  know  who  do  all  of  their 
recording  via  wireless  boom  mics,  lavalier 
wireless  mics,  and  wireless  headsets.  In 
the  digital  video  world,  more  producers, 
directors,  and  camera  people  want  to  link 
up  the  sound  person  and  his  or  her  audio 
mixer  via  a  radio  link  to  the  DV  camera. 
That  connection  is  best  served  by  a  diver- 
sity rf  microphone.  But  there  is  a  cost  to 
diversity,  usually  in  money  spent,  the 
extra  size  of  the  receiver,  and  its  power 
consumption. 

There  are  six  manufacturers  who 
dominate  the  digital  video  radio  micro- 
phone market:  AKG,  the  Austrian  micro- 
phone manufacturer;  Audio -Technica,  a 
Japanese  maker  of  consumer  and  pro- 
sumer  products;  Lectrosonic,  the  leading 
American  maker  of  rf  technology; 
Sennheiser,  Germany's  largest  producer  of 
microphones  and  headsets;  Sony,  whom 


28    THE    INDEPENDENT     March  2001 


we  all  know;  and  Telex,  an  American 
company  best  known  for  its  communica- 
tion systems.  I  have  investigated  the  four 
most  popular  brands — Audio-Technica, 
Lectrosonics,  Sennheiser,  and  Sony — to 
see  how  each  responded  to  the  DV  mar- 
ket. While  we  did  no  formal  rf  measure- 
ments and  no  test  instruments  were 
involved,  we  subjected  the  mics  to  sever- 
al rigorous  but  informal  tests  that  you  as  a 
consumer  can  do.  We  placed  the  mics  on 
someone  just  as  they  would  be  used  in  the 
field  and  had  that  person  walk  the  streets 
of  New  York  to  see  how  they  performed. 
We  jangled  keys  close  to  the  lavaliers,  and 
we  shouted  into  them  as  a  way  of  measur- 
ing the  quality  of  their  compandors  and 
limiters.  Jangling  keys  produce  an  enor- 
mous amount  of  high  frequency  energy 
that  can  severely  tax  the  compandor  cir- 
cuitry of  a  radio  mic.  Reproducing  this 
sound  without  distortion  is  a  major  chal- 
lenge to  an  rf  mic.  And  shouting  into  the 
lavalier  is  a  measure  of  how  these  systems' 
limiters  protect  them  from  audio  overload 
which  can  overload  the  transmission  sys- 
tem as  well. 

All  four  systems  we  looked  at  were  fre- 
quency agile.  In  two  cases  the  frequency 
alterations  were  made  by  mechanical 
switches,  and  in  the  other  two  they  were 
accomplished  by  a  digital  display  and  soft- 
ware. All  systems  were  supplied  with  lava- 
lier microphones  of  varying  quality. 

Only  one  of  the  mic  systems  comes 
with  a  balanced  audio  output  delivered 
via  an  XLR  connector:  the  Audio 
Technica  U100  series,  which  is  also  the 
only  diversity  receiver  among  the  group. 
Its  rf  and  audio  parameters  are  changed 
by  means  of  mechanical  switches,  and  it 
requires  two  batteries  to  operate  the 
receiver,  the  only  one  to  do  so.  Since  it  is 
not  as  ergonomically  pleasing  as  some  of 
the  other  units,  the  question  we  had  was 
whether  its  performance  would  override 
its  appearance  and  the  large  size  of  its 
receiver.  The  answer  is  yes.  The  Audio 
Technica's  rf  reach  was  the  longest,  if  not 
by  much.  Its  audio  quality  is  exemplary,  as 
was  that  for  all  the  systems  we  examined. 
The  Audio  Technica  U100  wireless  mic  is 
a  good  buy  if  you  don't  need  a  small 
receiver  to  attach  to  your  DV  camera. 

The  smallest  system  and  probably  the 
most  ergonomic  is  Sony's  WRR-805A 
receiver  and  its  companion  transmitter, 


the  WRT-805A.  It  is  the  only  system  to 
use  AA  batteries  and  be  encased  in  hard 
plastic  rather  than  metal,  making  it  the 
lightest  of  all  four  mics.  Sony  also  supplies 
a  very  clever  and  flexible  receiver  harness 
that  should  make  it  easy  to  attach  to  var- 
ious DV  cameras.  While  Sony  provides  a 
multilingual  operating  manual,  it  also 
prints  the  basic  operating  instructions  on 
its  transmitter  and  receiver — a  very  handy 
thing.  (Lectrosonic  does  the  same.) 
Generally  speaking,  radio  mics  are  very 
easy  to  operate.  Rare  is  the  situation 
where  you  need  more  than  the  kind  of 
elemental  advice  offered  on  the  shells  of 
the  Sony  and  Lectrosonic  systems.  Sony's 
functions  were  altered  by  a  blend  of  hard 
switches  and  software.  As  you  might 
expect  from  a  manufacturer  of  DV  cam- 
eras, Sony  has  produced  a  system  that  is 
attractive  in  all  parameters  save  one — the 
strength  of  its  rf  signal.  Its  rf  operating 
range  was  the  weakest  of  all  four  units. 
While  this  is  a  serious  weakness,  it  is  not 
a  fatal  flaw  as  long  as  you  don't  push  the  rf 
envelope. 

Lectrosonic  may  be  the  most  accom- 
plished American  manufacturer  of  wire- 
less microphones.  Their  entry  into  the  DV 
market  is  the  100  Series  transmitter  and 
receiver.  As  a  non- diversity  system  it  had 
excellent  rf  range,  approaching  Audio 
Technica's  diversity  system.  The  transmit- 
ter physically  resembles  Lectrosonic's 
high- end  transmitters.  The  microphone 
input  features  a  Switchcraft  connector, 
the  same  as  is  found  on  Audio  Technica's 
wireless  mic.  Wouldn't  it  be  nice  if  all 
manufacturers  standardized  to  this  con- 
nector? All  switching  in  the  Lectrosonic 
system  is  done  mechanically.  Its  receiver  is 
small,  with  one  drawback — a  permanent- 
ly attached  antenna — and  its  output 
appears  on  an  unbalanced  female  mini 
plug.  Clearly  this  receiver  is  intended  as  a 
camera-mount  unit.  The  Lectrosonic  sys- 
tem is  the  most  expensive  of  this  particu- 
lar group. 

In  Germany,  Sennheiser  is  a  major 
manufacturer  of  both  consumer  and  pro- 
fessional audio  products.  It  exports  high- 
quality  regular  microphones,  headsets, 
and  high-end  radio  microphones  which 
are  found  mostly  in  the  theater  world. 
The  Evolution  series,  which  is  their  entry 
into  the  DV  market,  is  a  solid  example  ol 
current  technology.  Like  the  Sony  unit,  it 


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makes  its  frequency  changes  through  soft- 
ware. Both  of  its  antennas  detach  from 
their  respective  cases.  It  is  mechanically 
rugged  and  performed  in  the  field  with 
good  rf  range,  trailing  the  Lectrosonic  and 
Audio  Technica  microphones  by  only  a 
small  amount.  However,  when  it  came  to 
audio  results,  the  Evolution  500  per- 
formed less  well.  Keys  distorted  badly 
when  jangled  too  close  to  the  lavalier.  If 
you  listened  closely,  the  system's  compan- 
dor seemed  to  have  some  difficulty  in 
reproducing  low-level  sound  information. 
Background  noise  appeared  gritty.  In  most 
situations,  when  the  transmitter's  mic 
input  gain  is  set  carefully,  this  problem 
won't  be  apparent.  Given  that  Sennheiser 
is  the  leading  manufacturer  of  regular 
microphones — its  Evolution  500  is  avail- 
able with  one  of  the  better  lavaliers  on  the 


market — the  Sennheiser  MKE2-EW,  for 
which  you  will  pay  a  premium.  While  the 
Sennheiser  mic  has  its  virtues — namely  its 
rugged  build  and  its  good  rf  reliability — it 
clearly  has  some  notable  drawbacks. 

Which  to  choose?  If  your  requirement 
is  for  a  camera  mount  system,  your  choic- 
es are  either  the  Sony  or  the  Lectrosonic, 
which  have  better  rf  reach  but  greater 
cost.  If  you  want  the  superior  reliability  of 
diversity  technology,  then  your  only  selec- 
tion is  the  Audio  Technica  U100.  The 
Sennheiser  Evolution  at  this  price  range  is 
a  middle  of  the  road  choice  that  does 
many  things  well,  but  no  design  element 
stands  out. 

To  most  of  us,  radio  frequency  technol- 
ogy is  one  of  life's  little  mysteries.  Few  of 
us  understand  it,  but  we  happily  take  it  for 
granted  every  time  we  turn  on  the  radio. 


When  you  go  into  the  broadcasting  busi- 
ness, which  you  inevitably  do  when  you 
buy  a  radio  mic,  ignorance  is  no  longer 
bliss.  One  item  to  help  you  comprehend 
this  mystery  is  a  substantial  booklet  pub- 
lished by  Lectrosonics,  Wireless  Micro- 
phone Systems:  Concepts  of  Operation  and 
Design.  While  this  may  include  far  more 
information  than  you  want  to  absorb  and 
it  may  promote  Lectrosonic  products 
(though  not  too  heavily),  it  is  very  useful 
as  a  reference.  What's  more,  even  though 
it  lists  for  $15.95,  it  is  free  from  the 
Lectrosonic  website  (www.lectrosonics. 
com,  click  on  Wireless  guide).  And  that's 
a  blessing  when  the  switch  to  digital  tech- 
nology keeps  filmmakers  digging  into  their 
pockets. 

Larry  Loeivinger  [sohoaudio@earthlink.net]  is 
an  audio  engineer  and  documentary  producer. 


Most  manufacturers  report  two  price 
structures — their  Jist  prices  and  the 
minimum  price  they  permit  their 
dealers  to  advertise,  the  Minimum 
Advertised  Price  or  MAR  But  neither 
is  the  price  you  are  likely  to  pay.  You 
should  pay  less.  Shop  around.  As 
these  are  prosumer  items,  they  are 
available  in  a  wider  variety  of  stores 
than  high-end,  professional  audio 
equipment. 

1  Audio-Technica 

U100  Camera-mount  UHF  Wireless 
Microphone  System:  Model  U101:  $1,049. 

(Audio-Technica  provides  only  a  list  price.) 
Lavalier  microphone  is  extra. 
.www.audiotechnica.com/guide/wireless/ul 
OO.htm 

2  Lectrosonics 

100  Series  Wireless 'System:  UM 100   . 
Transmitter,  MAP  $688.50;  UCR 100 
Receiver,  MAP  $845.75.  Comes  with  lava- 
lier. www.lectrosonics.com/wireless/wire- 
less.htm;  scroll  down  to  the  100  series 
group. 

3  Sennheiser 

Evolution  500  Series,  EW522P  System. 
MAP,  $979.99.  www.sennheiser.com/evolu- 
tion/ew|/ewl.html;  click  on  100, 300  or  500 
series  buttons. 

4  Sony 

UHF  Synthesized  Portable  Wireless  System 
805/44CAMPK68,  list  $1,300.  (No  MAP  on 
this  model.)  With  WRR-805A68  receiver;, 
WRT-805A68,  transmitter;  lavalier,  ECM- 
44BMP  www.sony.com/professional;  click 
on  "pro  audio"  and  then  "wireless  mics".  . 
Note:  The  Sony  web  site  is  old  anCnbt  easy 
to  navigate.  It  is  currently  being  updated. 


THE 


ESSENTIALS 


The  Audio-Technica  lavalier  placed  inside  a  man's  shirt.  The  clip  pro- 
vides some  isolation  from  the  shirt  but  it  also  adds  bulk.  You  can 
remove  the  clip  and  tape  the  microphone  to  the  inside  of  the  shirt,  in 
between  the  buttons.  Be  careful  not  to  cover  the  mic's  diaphragm. 


A  Sanken  lavalier  placed  in  the  knot  of  a  tie.  In  a  working  situation  the 
lavalier  is  actually  hidden  within  the  knot,  at  its  edge.  This  rigging  is 
easier  done  with  a  cylindrical!'/  shaped  mic  like  the  Sanken.  (a 
Japanese  brand  of  lavalier) 


A  Sennheiser  lavalier  clipped  to  a  bra.  Whenever  mounting  a  micro- 
phone on  someone,  try  to  isolate  it  from  the  clothing  or  attach  it  to  the 
clothing  so  that  it  moves  easily  with,  rather  than  against,  the  clothing. 
This  clip  achieves  that  purpose  but  it  is  rather  bulky. 


A  Sonotrim  lavalier  clipped  to  a  bra.  This  lavalier  is  placed  within  a 
holder  dubbed  the  "vampire"  clip,  with  its  diaphragm  facing  into  the 
clip.  The  Sonotrim  and  Tram,  as  good  sounding  rectangular  mics,  are 
popular  among  professionals.  For  hiding  lavaliers,  rectangular  mics 
tend  to  be  available  with  better  mounting  hardware. 


30     THE    INDEPENDENT     March  2001 


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SOUTH  BY  SOUTHWEST  FILM  CONFERENCE  +  FESTIVAL 


MARCH  9-17  •  AUSTIN  TEXAS 


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FILM  FESTIVAL  RUNS  MARCH  9-17  •  FILM  CONFERENCE  RUNS  MARCH  9-13 


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rCIRRUS  LOGIC 


NEXFEL 


DO  YOU  TRUST  YOUR  OWN  MEMORIES?  IS  MEMORY  MORE  FACT  OR 
interpretation?  The  elegant,  unsettling  new  thriller  Memento  is  a 
mental  and  visual  jigsaw  puzzle  that  explores  these  questions  in 
an  ingenious  way — the  protagonist  of  the  film  has  lost  his  ability 
to  create  new  memories.  He  has  no  choice  hut  to  trust  just  the 
facts.  Or  does  he? 

The  film  begins  with  a  murder,  but  the  bullet  is  instantly 
sucked  out  of  the  body  and  back  into  the  gun.  And  so  we  begin 
with  the  grand  tradition  of  a  corpse  and  a  mystery,  but  this  time, 

as  writer/director  Christo- 
pher Nolan  explains,  "We 
know  whodunnit;  what  we 
don't  know  is  why  he  dun- 
nit."  The  murderer  is 
Leonard  Shelby,  played  by 
Guy  Pearce  (LA.  Con- 
fidential), and  the  story 
proceeds,  or,  more  literally, 
recedes,  in  slices.  It's  a  tale 
told  backwards,  beginning 
with  the  what  and  heading 
back  toward  the  why. 

One  night,  tragedy  takes 
Leonard's  wife  from  him 
and  leaves  him  with  chron- 
ic short-term  memory  loss. 
He  is  forever  stranded  at 
the  height  of  grief  and 
desire  for  vengeance.  This 
hopeless  condition  slowly 
becomes  a  metaphor  for  the  futility  of  revenge.  Leonard  tries  to 
compensate  for  his  illness  with  a  touching  and  desperate  system 
of  notes,  Polaroids,  and  tattoos.  These  dubious  fragments  are  the 
clues  he  trusts  will  lead  him  to  his  wife's  killer.  Along  the  way  he 
encounters  a  series  of  colorful,  seemingly  helpful  characters, 
including  the  fetchingly  duplicitous  Natalie  (played  by  Carrie  - 
Anne  Moss,  no  stranger  to  metaphysical  movies,  e.g.,  The 
Matrix) . 

A  body,  a  mystery,  a  "detective,"  a  femme  fatale?  Memento 
playfully  uses  the  conventions  of  film  noir  to  take  a  disturbingly 
close  look  at  noir  themes  of  revenge,  paranoia,  and  dread.  In  the 
backwards  telling  of  the  tale,  Memento  also  plays  with  how  mem- 
ory functions  in  the  craft  of  storytelling. 

The  29-year-old  Nolan  first  picked  up  a  Super  8  camera  at  age 


\ 


seven,  making  short  films  with  his  childhood  friends  in  the  UK. 
He  studied  English  Literature  at  University  College  London,  and 
his  first  feature  film,  Following,  was  a  study  of  voyeurism  that  also 
explored  the  ambiguity  of  identity.  A  black-and-white  no-bud- 
geter,  the  film  was  acclaimed  at  many  festivals  but  poorly  distrib- 
uted, so  few  saw  it.  After  Following,  Nolan  moved  to  the  U.S. — 
first  Chicago,  then  Los  Angeles,  where  he  now  resides.  Here  he 
found  backing  for  his  next  film,  Memento,  which  was  inspired  by 
a  short  story  written  by  his  brother  Jonathan  Nolan,  which  will 
be  published  in  Esquire  this  year.  The  film  represents  a  significant 
leap  for  the  director,  both  in  terms  of  its  budget  (in  the  low  mil- 
lions), its  professional  producers  (Suzanne  and  Jennifer  Todd  of 
Boiler  Room,  Austin  Powers),  and  its  theatrical  release  on  March  4 
16  (via  Sony  Pictures  Classics). 

In  December,  The  Independent  sat  down  with  Nolan  to  talk 
about  memory,  film  noir,  story  structure,  and  vengeance  movies. 

In  Memento,  did  you  choose  to  tell  the  story  in  fragments  so  that  the 
rhythm  of  the  film  would  mimic  your  disturbed  protagonist's  mind? 

Absolutely.  My  first  film,  Following,  had  a  nonlinear  structure, 
with  parallel  timelines  that  jump  across,  so  I  was  not  intending 
to  make  another  film  with  a  disjointed  structure.  But  once  I'd 
been  told  the  idea  of  the  film  by  my  brother  Jonathan,  who  was 
writing  a  short  story  about  a  guy  with  a  memory  condition,  we 
both  agreed  that  the  most  interesting  way  to  approach  that  con- 
cept was  to  try  to  tell  the  story  as  subjectively  as  possible.  So  the 
structure  arose  from  literally  sitting  around  thinking:  how  best 
can  I  get  the  audience  into  this  guy's  head?  The  idea  I  came  up 
with  was  to  tell  the  story  backwards.  Each  successive  flashback, 
each  color  sequence,  is  a  little  further  back  in  time.  In  that  way, 
when  you  meet  a  character,  you,  like  the  protagonist,  don't  know 
how  he's  met  that  person  before,  or  whether  he  should  trust  that 
person.  All  these  ambiguities  and  uncertainties  that  film  noir  has 
traditionally  used  to  prey  on  the  everyday  fears  that  we  have, 
become  exaggerated.  I  was  looking  for  a  way  to  reawaken  some 
of  the  paranoia  inherent  in  those  kinds  of  uncertainties.  The 
interesting  thing  about  reversing  the  timeline  is  that  this  is  not  a 
nonlinear  film.  It's  a  very,  very  linear  film.  The  A.D.  took  to  call- 
ing it  a  "dislinear"  film.  You  can't  remove  a  single  scene,  or  the 
whole  thing  comes  to  a  grinding  halt.  Each  scene  follows  very 
tightly  after  the  next,  more  closely  than  they  would  in  a  conven- 
tional movie. 

But  even  though  it  flows  backwards,  it  also  has  a  forward-flowing  narra- 
tive, in  terms  of  the  emotional  truth  Leonard's  heading  toward. 


32     THE    INDEPENDENT     March  2001 


i/lemory,  storytelling, 
and  genre  films  are  redefined 

and  subverted  in  the  impressive  Memento 


People  who  figure  that  out,  I  think,  really  get  the  film. 
Underneath  it,  it's  very  conventional — it  has  a  three-act  struc- 
ture, in  terms  of  the  emotional  arc.  That  was  absolutely  vital,  I 
felt,  in  making  that  backwards  structure  work.  If  you  ignore  the 
chronology,  it  does  have  a  very  intentionally  conventional  pat- 
tern to  it.  I  did  that 
by  sitting  down  and 
starting  to  write 
exactly  what  I 
wanted  to  see  on 
the  screen,  as  I 
wanted  to  see  it. 
So  I  started  at  page 
one  and  I  finished 


at  page  120.  Following  has 
parallel  timelines  and  the  film  cuts  between 
them.  So  I  wrote  that  in  a  linear  way,  then 
chopped   it   up   later   in    the   script   stage. 
Memento's  structure  is      «         .  ..... 

very  different.  It's  so 
linear  that  it  was  actu- 
ally a  lot  easier  to  visu- 
alize it. 


and-white  footage  is  going  forward  are  actually  waiting  for  that 
moment  when  the  timelines  will  hook  up. 

It's  a  film  you  want  to  see  twice,  in  that  things  that  seemed  casual  the 
first  time  round  might  have  more  significance  on  second  viewing. 

I  tried  not  to  be  too  clever- clever  in  the  dialogue  sense,  because 
you  can  get  into  that  thing  of  putting  deliberate  double -mean- 
ings into  lines.  What  I  tried  to  do  more  was  to  put  double -mean- 
ings into  whole  actions  and  dialogues.  Especially  the  exchanges 
between  Natalie  and  Leonard.  Her  boyfriend  has  disappeared, 
and  when  she's  showing  Leonard  his  picture,  there's  a  sense  of 
her  looking  for  Leonard's  reaction.  Those  are  the  kinds  of  tests 
that  other  people  put  before  him,  which,  once  you  see  the  whole 
film,  you  realize  the  significance  of.  They're  continually  testing 

him  for  their  own 
voyeuristic  inter- 
est. 

I'm  red/green 
colorblind.  As 
soon  as  I  tell  that 
to  someone,  the 
first    thing    they 


So  you  wrote  it  linear,  but 
backwards. 

Yes.  Backwards  and  for- 
wards at  the  same  time. 
[laughs]      Because      the 
black-and-white   footage 
goes  forwards,  and  then  it 
meets        the        color 
footage  at  the  end,  so 
the  shape  of  the  script  is  a 
kind  of  U-turn,  or  a  hairpin 
turn.  They  meet  at  the  point 
where  it  changes  from  black- 
and-white     to     color. 
The  people  that  pick 
up  on  how  the  black- 


"The  film  is 

most  subversive,  not  as  applied  to  film 
noir,  but  more  as  applied  to  revenge 
movies.  Like  Braveheart.  Like  Gladiator. 
As  soon  as  you  see  a  beautiful  wife  on 
screen,  you  know  she's  got  about  15 
minutes  before  she  gets  the  chop...so 
that  the  hero  is  then  able  to  go  and 
kick-ass  in  the  most  nasty  way, 
L       and  we  think  it's  totally  okay." 


Left  to  right:  Christopher  Nolan,  writer-director  of  Memento,  a 
stylish  film  noir  that  deconstructs  the  reliability  of  memory. 

Guy  Pearce  stars  as  Leonard  Shelby,  a  man  with  no  short- 
term  memory  who  uses  a  complex  system  of  notes  and  tattoos 
to  fuel  his  vengeance. 

Joe  Pantoliano  (I)  plays  someone  trying  to  help  Guy  Pearce 
put  the  pieces  of  his  fragmented  life  back  together. 


say  is,  oh,  what  color  is  this?  What  color  is 
that.7  And  they'll  test  me  for  hours,  if  I  let 
them. 

Which  relates  to  the  insurance  storyline.  It's  so 
Catholic  almost,  that  he  didn't  believe  that  guy's 
memory  condition,  and  so  his  penance  is  to  never  be 
believed  himself.  It's  quite  perverse. 
Right,  it  is.  And  this  is  a  very  specific  ambigui- 
ty in  the  film — his  relationship  with  chat  insur- 
ance  story,  how  he  tells  it,  what  il  means,  and 
how  it  relates  to  him. 


March   AVI    THE    INDEPENDENT      33 


You  do  end  up  wondering  about  all 
the  stories  he  tells.  At  one  point  I 
thought  that  the  girl  we  see  might  not 
even  be  his  original  wife,  because 
who  knows  how  many  times  he's 
reenacted  this  whole  loop.  Is  this 
another  town,  another  girl,  another 
picture? 

Interesting.  That  takes  it  to 
another  level,  [laughs]  It's  very 
much  a  film  that  lends  itself  to 
interpretation,  which  was  very 
deliberate.  I  have  limits  to  how 
far  that  goes.  What  I'm  finding 
satisfying  is  that  people  who  see 
the  film  twice,  [who  come]  with 
a  specific  question,  seem  to  be 

able  to  find  the  answer.  Which  is  great,  because  I  think  all  the 
answers  are  in  there.  Now,  the  relationship  of  the  filmmaker  to 
the  audience  is  really  stretched  with  this  movie,  because  there 
are  definitely  people  who  react  against  the  scenes  that  are  the 
cleverness  of  the  filmmaker.  But  I  had  three  years  to  work  on  the 
film.  You  have  an  hour  and  three-quarters  to  watch  it.  So,  I 
should  be  cleverer  than  you.  I've  always  been  drawn  to  films  that 
you  want  to  see  more  than  once,  whether  because  of  a  visual 
density,  like  the  films  of  Ridley  Scott,  or  narrative  density,  like 
The  Usual  Suspects.  I  was  interested  in  creating  a  film  that  you 
want  to  figure  out.  There  are  ambiguities  in  the  end,  but  I  want 
people  to  be  put  in  the  position  of  the  protagonist,  in  terms  of 
choosing  what  they  want  to  believe. 

There  is  a  ripple  back  effect,  at  the  point  where  [film-spoiler  information 
withheld.]  Everything  that  happened  previously  becomes  suspect. 

It  does.  But,  I  think  that  it's  within  limitations.  I  was  not  inter- 
ested in  exploding  the  whole  thing  too  much,  in  the  way,  for 
example,  in  The  Usual  Suspects  does.  Once  you  find  out  some- 
one's been  lying,  it  becomes  very  difficult  in  terms  of  how  you 
rein  in  the  terms  of  those  lies.  For  example,  you  were  suggesting 
that  maybe  that  woman  isn't  Leonard's  wife.  I  would  see  that  as 
upsetting  the  terms  of  what  he's  doing.  It's  not  so  much  that  he's 
lying,  it's  more  that  he's  morally  suspect. 

I've  always  been  fascinated  with  stories  that  have  unreliable 
narrators.  And  I  wanted  to  make  one  where  there's  a  fairly 
smooth,  quite  steady  process  of  alienation  from  the  audience. 
There  are  some  nice  ways  in  which  the  camerawork  and  the  per- 
formances combine  to  clue  the  audience  in  a  bit  as  well.  The 
blocking  in  the  film  is  very  specific  and  there's  a  point,  about 
two-thirds  of  the  way  through,  where  the  camera  leaves  his  eye- 
line  for  the  first  time.  It's  subtle,  but  I  get  the  sense  of  suddenly 
starting  to  view  him  as  you  would  objectively — as  this  guy  shuf- 
fling around  with  this  big  wash  of  papers  sort  of  mumbling  about 
his  wife's  killer.  The  color  sequences  are  all  blocked  from  his 
point  of  view.  The  camera's  always  a  little  bit  closer  to  him,  phys- 
ically, when  he's  in  conversation.  We  look  over  his  shoulder,  as 
someone  comes  up  to  him  in  a  room.  The  black-and-white 
footage  is  shot  a  little  more  objectively;  more  like  a  documentary. 
We'd  take  the  camera  out  farther,  we'd  use  a  wider  lens,  as  if  we 
were  making  a  documentary  about  this  guy  in  his  hotel  room. 


In  Memento,  no  one  is  quite  what  they  seem,  including 
Carrie-Anne  Moss's  character  Natalie. 


In  terms  of  how  finely  you  shaved 
the  beginnings  and  ends  of 
scenes,  was  that  all  scripted,  or 
was  some  of  it  done  in  the  editing 
room? 

It  was  pretty  tightly  scripted. 
We  ended  up  simplifying  the 
first  few  scenes,  running  a  few 
scenes  together.  I  always  have 
this  thing  in  my  head  that  you 
have  to  teach  the  audience 
the  structure  fairly  quickly. 
When  you  come  to  edit  it,  you 
realize  that  doesn't  really 
work;  people  don't  really  view 
films  in  structural  terms. 


Did  you  storyboard? 

I  storyboard  in  my  head.  I  usually  do  a  few  drawings,  and  then  I 
get  bored  with  it  and  figure  it  out  in  my  mind.  Particularly  when 
you're  doing  a  low-budget  movie,  you  have  to  be  able  to  adapt 
whatever  it  is  you  have  in  your  head  to  the  location  or  to  the  set. 
In  the  end  we  were  able  to  come  up  with  some  very  apt  locations. 
I  was  very  pleased  with  the  motel.  It  had  an  enclosed  courtyard, 
you  can't  see  anything  outside,  and  it  had  a  kind  of  spiral  stair- 
case and  an  upper  level  that's  on  slightly  different  levels. 

So  it  worked  as  a  kind  of  puzzlement? 

Yes,  if  Escher  designed  a  motel,  this  would  be  it.  When  you  open 
your  door  and  look  out,  you  don't  have  any  idea  where  you  are. 

Is  Leonard's  condition  less  based  on  research  than  it  is  meant  to  be  an 
exaggeration  of  a  human  condition  in  general,  in  terms  of  our  relation- 
ship to  our  memories? 

I  did  a  little  bit  of  research,  but  not  too  much,  because  I  wasn't 
interested  in  doing  a  realistic  medical  portrayal  of  this  thing;  I 
was  interested  in  its  metaphorical  potential.  The  experience  is 
very  much  written  from  the  point  of  view  of  me  sitting  there,  and 
saying,  how  do  I  use  my  memory?  How  would  I  cope  if  it  were 
totally  removed,  that  ability  to  make  new  memories?  For 
instance,  I  write  phone  numbers  on  my  hand.  I  keep  my  glasses 
in  the  same  pocket,  so  I  don't  have  to  think  about  it.  I  use 
instinctive  memory  rather  than  conscious  memory.  We  all  take 
photographs,  we  all  write  notes  to  ourselves,  and  so  he  very 
much  is  an  exaggeration  of  this.  Now  that  the  film  has  been  seen 
by  various  people  who  work  with  people  who  have  this  condi- 
tion, they  say  they  find  it  surprisingly  accurate. 

In  the  traditional  way  people  tell  stories  in  film,  they  dole  out  pieces  of 
information  that  are  pretty  reassuringly  the  next  piece  of  the  story. 
Whereas  your  film  doles  out  the  opposite.  It's  a  bit  more  like  life,  how  it 
comes  at  you  in  fragments.  Memento  plays  with  the  way  we  tell  stories. 

With  my  first  film,  I  wound  up  having  to  justify  structure  a  lot. 
With  Memento  I  think  it's  pretty  clear  that  we're  trying  to  put 
you  in  his  head.  And  this  is  relevant  to  what  you're  talking 
about,  because  I  became  interested  by  the  way  that  we  receive 
stories  in  real  life.  It's  almost  never  chronological.  In  Following, 
it's  beginning,  middle  and  end  concurrent.  That's  the  way  we 
read  a  newspaper.  "Man  Bites  Dog"  is  the  headline.  And  as  you 


34    THE    INDEPENDENT     March  2001 


read  it,  it  expands.  And  then  the  next  day,  it's  filled  in,  almost 
like  fractals.  I  was  trying  to  play  with  that  kind  of  organic  under- 
standing of  a  story  that  sort  of  grows  in  all  directions,  rather  than 
just  in  a  straight  line.  But  too  often,  in  film,  you  have  to  justify 
this  narrative  technique.  Whereas  in  books,  or  on  stage,  you  can 
use  this  kind  of  narrative  freedom — and  they  have  been,  for 
hundreds  if  not  thousands  of  years.  In  film,  I  think  probably 
because  of  television,  it's  been  very  much  held  back.  If  you  look 
at  the  structure  of  Citizen  Kane,  it  still  seems  very  incredibly 
adventurous,  even  this  far  down  the  line.  Whereas  every  other 
aspect  of  filmmaking  is  constantly  progressing,  even  just  on  a 
technical  level. 

In  fact,  the  only  other  film  I  could  think  of  that  flows  backward  is  based 
on  a  play,  Harold  Pinter's  Betrayal. 

I've  never  seen  it,  but  people  have  brought  it  up  to  me.  It's  funny, 
because  you  find  these  things  in  plays  and  novels.  I  was  influ- 
enced by  Graham  Swift's  Waterhnd,  and  I  read  Time's  Arrow,  by 
Martin  Amis,  which  is  written  literally  backwards.  If  someone 
criticizes  the  structure  of  my  film  as  a  gimmick,  they're  separat- 
ing it  from  the  material.  My  main  defense  is  that  I  could  not  have 
re-cut  the  film  forwards.  It's  not  that  it  doesn't  work  forwards, 
because  it  does.  Technically  it  works,  logically  it  works.  It  just 
becomes  unbearable  to  watch.  It  becomes  this  horrible  portrayal 
of  this  guy  being  abused  and  abused.  The  only  way  to  get  around 
that  is  to  prevent  the  audience  from  seeing  that  abuse  until 
much  later  in  the  film.  People  still  seem  to  sympathize  with  him, 
they  still  want  to  view  him  in  the  way  he  views  himself,  which  is 
as  this  kind  of  heroic  avenging  figure.  I  had  a  fantastic  editor, 
Dody  Dorn,  and  she  added  an  emotional  component  to  the  edit- 
ing. On  an  emotional  level,  you  want  him  to  get  his  man.  I  think 
it's  working  well  if,  at  the  end  of  it,  you  aren't  too  unhappy  that 
it  carries  on.  Because  you  realize  the  bleakness  of  someone  in  this 
condition  achieving  his  goal.  What  does  he  have  next? 

Which  leads  to  that  loop  that  he's  perhaps  already  finished  his 
vengeance  but  goes  on. 

Because  he  has  these  memories  of  his  wife,  of  her  dying,  that  fuel 
him  continuously.  He  doesn't  need  to  refresh  that  experience. 
One  of  the  unusual  things  about  this  condition  is  that  the  anger 
and  grief  would  never  fade.  You'd  always  be  in  the  grip  of  this 
moment  of  needing  vengeance  and  never  getting  past  that.  The 
film  is  most  subversive,  not  as  applied  to  film  noir,  but  more  as 
applied  to  revenge  movies.  Like  Braveheart.  Like  Gladiator.  As 
soon  as  you  see  a  beautiful  wife  on  screen  in  that  kind  of  film, 
you  know  she's  got  about  15  minutes  before  she  gets  the  chop  in 
the  most  horrible  way  possible,  so  that  the  hero  is  then  able  to  go 
and  kick-ass  in  the  most  nasty  way,  and  we  think  it's  totally  okay. 
It's  this  peculiar  moral  balancing  act  that  filmmakers  and  script- 
writers always  have  to  do,  because  of  the  studios  or  whatever,  to 
make  the  things  that  the  hero  does  okay.  We  all  indulge  in  these 
fantasies  of  suffering  when  we're  younger.  You  know,  what  would 
I  feel  like  if  my  parents  were  killed  in  a  car  crash,  how  would  I 
act  in  school  the  next  day?  This  weird  kind  of  self-indulgent  fan- 
tasy of  suffering  that  we  explore  at  various  points  in  our  lives, 
films  tend  to  prey  on  that.  This  film  certainly  seems  to  make 
some  people  uncomfortable,  and  I  think  that's  why. 


It's  also  disturbing  because  it  reminds  us  we  all  have  stories  we  tell  so 
often,  eventually  we  don't  remember  what  the  truth  was. 

Guy  Pearce  has  done  some  interviews  where  he  really  seems  to 
give  the  impression  that  making  the  film  definitely  made  him 
question  things  about  his  own  memory.  You  begin  to  question 
the  things  you  think  you  know,  particularly  the  things  you  think 
you've  seen.  One  of  the  things  that  I  was  most  frightened  to  real- 
ize was  that  thought  memory  can  translate  into  visual  memory. 
There  are  things  you  will  believe  yourself  to  have  seen,  in  your 
past,  that  you  didn't  see.  Someone  just  told  you  about  them,  or 
whatever.  The  main  thing  that  seems  to  divide  people  about  the 
film  is  in  the  interpretation  of  the  end,  particularly  in  regard  to 
the  Sammy  story,  and  his  wife.  It  really  comes  down  to  whether 
you  tend  to  favor  your  verbal  memory  or  your  visual  memory. 
People  who  favor  their  visual  memory  think  they've  seen  it  in  a 
particular  way,  even  when  the  film  very  explicitly  presents  two 
interpretations  of  the  same  action.  They  can't  both  be  true. 

People  lie  to  Leonard,  but  you  wonder,  like  a  dog  that's  been  kicked,  will 
he  have  some  kind  of  visceral  memory? 

I  tried  to  present  mini  versions  of  the  whole  story  in  each  scene. 
If  you  apply  that  concept  to  the  final  scene,  with  Teddy,  and  the 
way  he  is  telling  Leonard  truths  because  he's  not  going  to 
remember  them,  you  see  the  cruelty  of  that.  But  you  think  about 
whether  he  will  absorb  it.  Teddy  is  unaware  of  whether  or  not  it 
will  seep  in,  but  these  things  do  seep  in  on  some  subconscious 
emotional  level.  That's  what  we  tried  to  do  with  the  tattoos. 
They  look  like  they  were  painful,  and  are  an  attempt  of  his 
unconscious  self  to  communicate  with  his  conscious  self.  That 
there's  been  this  continuous  sort  of  build  up,  and  what  we're 
actually  watching  is  in  a  way  the  last  cycle  in  a  series  of  cycles. 

Like  a  detective,  he's  trying  to  develop  a  fine-tuned  instinctual  sense  for 
the  truth,  because  that's  all  he's  got. 

Yes,  but  he  misapplies  the  context  of  the  emotions,  of  the  read  he's 
getting,  in  the  same  way  the  audience  does.  The  same  with  the 
femme  fatale  element  of  the  film.  If  you  watch  the  film  again,  what 
does  that  do  to  her?  In  a  way,  she  actually  helps  him  and  is  actu- 
ally a  good  person.  It's  the  duplicity  that  is  the  illusion.  She  has  a 
pretty  good  reason  to  be  angry  with  him  in  the  film.  It's  a  condi- 
tion that's  very  hard  for  the  people  around  him  to  deal  with. 
People  have  related  the  film  to  Alzheimer's,  which  hadn't 
occurred  to  me  consciously,  but  it  makes  perfect  sense.  My  grand- 
mother had  Alzheimer's;  it's  hard  on  people,  not  being  recognized. 

Memento  is  a  film  that  seems  more  interested  in  raising  questions  than 
in  answering  them. 

There's  an  interesting  tension,  between  the  terms  of  the  story- 
telling and  the  story  itself.  We  tried  to  create  answers  to  all  the 
obvious  questions  that  did  not  betray  the  terms  of  the  story, 
which  is  that  we  are  in  the  head  of  this  guy  who  cannot,  with  any 
degree  of  certainty,  say  what's  just  happened.  In  putting  answers 
in  to  some  of  these  questions,  you  actually  increase  the  enigma, 
because  of  the  order  of  the  storytelling,  and  the  way  in  which  you 
subvert  the  reliability  ot  the  process  of  memory.  It's  this  bizarre 
process  of,  no  matter  how  tightly  you  wrap  it  up,  you've  got  it 
backwards,  so  it's  actually  unwrapping.  It's  actually  exploding. 

Annie  Nocenti  is  a  screenwriter  and  the  editor  o)  Scenario  mag 


March   AVI    THE    INDEPENDENT      35 


D  R  IE  A 


IK  IE  R 


How    at-risk    youth    contributed    to    and    learned    from 
the     making    of   The  Dream  Catcher. 


B  Y 

When  Steve  Bognar,  Ed  Radtke,  and  I  decided  to  make  the 
independent  feature  The  Dream  Catcher,  we  shared  a  core  idea. 
We  wanted  not  just  to  make  a  film;  we  wanted  it  to  be  more. 
We'd  all  been  through  the  crazy  ego-driven  process  of  creating 
one  of  those  low-budget 
wonders,  and  we  did  not 
want  to  expend  all  that 
manic  energy  and  massive 
human  resources  just  to  cre- 
ate a  90-minute  hip  cellu- 
loid experience  and  take  a 
step  on  the  director's  career 
ladder.  The  process  itself 
had  to  mean  more,  to  effect 
more  people,  to  leave  something 
behind. 

The  vision  of  The  Dream 
Catcher  director/writer  Ed  Radtke 
led  the  way.  As  a  youth,  Ed  was  an 
abysmal  student  and  often  in  trou- 
ble. Growing  up  Asian  in  a  small 

all-white  Ohio  town  during  the  late  Vietnam  War  era  did  not 
help.  By  1 7  he  was  both  a  juvenile  felon  and  a  father.  With  the 
help  of  an  enlightened  parole  officer,  Tim  Currier,  and  his 
tough  Japanese   mom,   Kazuko,   Ed  gradually   turned   his   life 
around.  His  experiences  led  him  to  have  deep  identification  with 
what  society  now  calls  "at-risk  youth."  Both  of  his  feature  films, 
Bottom  Land  and  The  Dream  Catcher,  center  on  rudderless,  iso- 
lated young  men  who  struggle  to  voice  their  feelings.  When  our 
producing  team  sat  down  to  plan,  months  before  cameras  would 
roll,  all  this  was  on  our  minds. 

As  head  of  fundraising,  I  began  to  talk  with  area  foundations, 
pitching  passionately  for  nonprofit  funding.  A  happy  match  was 
made.  A  local  funder,  the  Iddings  Foundation,  has  as  its  mission 
the  support  of  programs  for  at-risk  youth.  After  some  brain- 
storming meetings  with  Iddings  leadership,  we  designed  a  year- 
long program,  dubbed  The  Dayton  Youth  Film  Project  (DYFP). 
It  would  involve  area  youth  in  all  stages  of  making  a  feature  film, 
with  The  Dream  Catcher  as  the  real-lite  model.  We  believed  the 
film's  characters  and  story  would  engage  and  effect  them.  The 
project  would  be  topped  off  with  the  kids  making  their  own  short 
videos. 

With  the  concept  on  paper  and  minimal  initial  funding  in 
place,  we  faced  our  next  hurdle:  finding  kids  to  participate. 
Working  with  existing  institutions  made  the  most  sense.  Here 
were  kids  one  step  away  from  serious  incarceration,  kids  in  half- 
way houses  and  in  county  juvie  facilities.  Our  job  was  to  con- 


Julia      Reichert 

vince  the  staff  at  each  that  this  year-long  artsy  idea  would  actu- 
ally benefit  the  kids  and  not  get  in  the  way  of  the  generally  rigid 
schedule  such  facilities  provide.  But  we  did  not  know  the  juvie 
world  and  its  workings.  Clearly  we  needed  an  emissary;  someone 
who  knew  and  trusted  us,  but  also  was  an  insider  to  that 
world.  We  turned  to  Ed's  old  probation  officer,  Tim  Currier, 
who  graciously  filled  the  bill.  There  were  others,  too.  The 
trick  was  to  keep  talking  to  leadership  people  until  we  found 

one  who  got  the  connection 
between  art  and  rehabilita- 
tion. Currier  notes,  "In  the 
juvenile    treatment   world, 
art  can  be  seen  as  frivolous, 
and  outsiders  with  no  expe- 
rience   are    mistrusted. 
But  the  filmmaking  as- 
pect was  exciting  and  the 
program  sounded  pretty 
solid." 

Eventually  we  were  set 
to  begin  taking  these 
kids,  all  of  whom  were  in 
juvenile  treatment  or 
detention  facilities, 

through  the  creative 
steps  of  making  a  fiction  film.  The  following  is  how  we  outlined 
the  stages  of  this  project: 

Script  reading  and  story  analysis  of  The  Dream  Catcher  with 
the  writers  and  actors 

Storyboarding  scenes  from  the  film 

Scene  work  in  performance  and  improvisation  with  an  acting 
coach 

Visit  on-location  set  of  The  Dream  Catcher 

Visit  editing  room,  demo/involvement  in  digital  editing 

Hands-on  shooting  a  scene,  teens  as  crew 

Work  with  artist-in-residence  to  create  short  films,  each  one 
written  and  directed  by  the  group 

Screen  their  finished  piece  at  their  facility 

Attend  a  test  screening  of  The  Dream  Catcher  as  a  work-in- 
progress,  offer  feedback 

Attend  the  gala  premiere  of  The  Dream  Catcher  as  part  of  the 
team 

With  just  a  few  weeks  to  go  before  production,  step  one  was 
put  in  motion.  Youth  in  the  four  chosen  facilities  were  given  indi- 
vidual copies  of  The  Dream  Catcher's  100+  page  script.  We  held 
our  breath  before  the  first  filmmaker/youth  contact.  Would  kids 


(Clockwise  from  top  left): 

Practicing  dolly  work  at  the  George  Foster  Home. 

At  Wright  State  University,  editor  Jim  Klein  allows 
kids  to  try  their  hand  at  the  Avid  and  recut  a 
scene  from  The  Dream  Catcher. 

Co-producer  Steve  Bognar  demostrates  a  light 
stand  at  the  Nicholas  Youth  Center. 


36     THE    INDEPENDENT     March  2001 


involved,  o»  u 
a  quickly  groi 
her  of  school   : 


"linetics'  booming  economy,  opp 


>orr.unici 


often  the  perspectives  of  yo 

regular  distribution  channels  won't  touch  then 

small  organizations  compete  for  a  few  grants  right  now,  nut  it  we 

mi- i selves,  we  can  leverage  mote  money  from  a  wider 

variety  of  hinders."  As  a  first  step,  Faher  conducted  a  national 
survey  of  youth  media  organisations,  compiling  data  on  types  of 
constituencies,  equipment,  and  programs  available,  and  funding 
sources.  (See  resource  list  below.) 

A  big  player  in  the  field  is  the  "Listen  Up!"  campaign,  a 
Kellogg  Foundation  initiative  that  funds  teens  to  make  PSAs  on 
subjects  of  their  choosing.  Veteran  organizations  such  as  Paper 
Tiger  TV,  Downtown  Community  TV,  P.O.V.,  and  NAMA.C 
have  stepped  up  to  the  plate,  opening  their  doors  to  youthful 
makers.  The  NEA  received  .360  applications  to  its  brand-new 
Positive  Alternatives  for  Youth  pilot  program  in  2000  and  fund- 
ed 156  of  them. 

Emphasis  on  youth  media  and  artists-in-education  is,  many 
feel,  part  of  the  fallout  of  the  culture  wars  of  the  late  '80s  arid 
early  '90s,  during  which  defense  of  controversial  individual 
artists    cost    the   NEA    and   state    arts    agencies   dearly.    As 


'opf  observes, 

aonies  needed  to  go  to  public  uses.  What  more  clear, 

'ersial  public  use  than  for  our  youth?"  The  NEA's 

s,  "I  don't  know  if  these  programs  will  be  safer!  But 

:ob  of  fulfilling  Congress's  mandate  by  reaching 

tuency's  communities."  FabeT  adds,  "When 

~'l  people  who  have  experienced  racism, 

and  poverty  first-hand  and  have  them 

•ed,  it  definitely  challenges  the  power 

understanding  about  how  to  work 
that  we  need  to  reach  kids 
^"ds,  in  summer.  Research 
_c  between.3  and  8  p.m., 
Campbell  -Zopf.  "And  we 
sts  need  to  partner  with 
ic,  lasting,  in-depth  pro- 

k  up  with  at-risk  youth  programs 

ia  artist?  Want  to  start  your  own 

r  state  arts  council  and  with  some  of 


6  East  32nd  St.,  8th  fl.,  New  York,  NY  10016;  (212)  725  7000; 
www.listenup.org;  info@listenup.org 

Video  Machete 

5732  North  Glenwood,  Chicago,  IL  60660;  (773)  506  9970; 
www.videomachete.org;  videomachete@hotmail.com.  For  a  sur- 
vey of  40  local  projects  all  over  the  U.S.,  contact:  MindyfaberiQ  hot- 
mail.net 

Creative  Links:  Positive  Alternatives  for  Youth 

Terry  Liu  at  the  NEA;  (202)  682  5690;  www.arts.gov.  A  huge  web 
site,  with  many  links 

Release  Print 

Film  Arts  Foundation,  346  9th  St.,  2nd  fl.,  San  Francisco  CA 
94.10r,  (415)  552  8760.  The  September  2000  issue  wcu 
teen  media,  including  incarcerated  youth. 

—  Julia  Reichert 


THE    INDEPENDENT 


f      37 


see  truth  in  this  story  of  two  lonely  boys  on  the  lam?  Would  they 
even  read  the  script/  Could  they  read  it? 

When  Radtke,  co -writer  M.S.  Nieson,  and  the  two  young  lead 
actors  entered  the  rec  room  of  the  Nicholas  Youth  Center  to  face 
16  stone -faced  young  men  and  several  dubious  counselors,  the 
stakes  were  high.  For  the  actors,  especially  14-year-old  lead 
Paddy  Connor,  the  moment  was  a  sobering  anchor  to  character. 
In  the  film  we  watch  Connor's  character,  Albert,  escape  from  his 
life  in  just  such  a  facility. 

Radtke  encouraged  open  dialog.  Discussion  began.  Comments 
flew.  It  was  obvious  early  on  that  not  only  had  all  the  kids  read 
and  absorbed  the  script,  but  they  connected.  They  offered  line 
changes,  character  observations.  As  the  evening  drew  on,  the 
entire  script  was  read  aloud  by  the  youth  and  the  writers.  A  mag- 
ical expressive  space  grew  around  this  group  of  men  and  boys. 
The  filmmakers  were  left  humbled  and  empowered. 

Radtke  says,  "As  a  teenager  I  was  disconnected  and  unin- 
spired. Probably  like  many  of  these  kids,  I  sat  and  stared  at  the 
walls  in  school.  I  was  rebellious,  too.  But  that  doesn't  mean  we 
aren't  interested  in  the  world.  Traditional 
education,  math  and  science,  just  didn't 
reach  us.  I  wanted  to  offer  the  kids  a  way 
to   validate   their   own   experience,    their 
detours  in  life." 

As  production  began,  the  program  grew 
and  the  bond  between  the  youth  and  the 
filmmakers  deepened.  Along  the  way  there 
were  glitches,  hurdles  to  jump.  Sometimes 
when  an  event  was  scheduled,  kids  were  in 
lock-up  or  had  escaped.  A  few  times  a 
whole  event  was  postponed  due  to  kids  suf- 
fering consequences.  Some  staff  were  more 
supportive  than  others.  It  proved  important  to  communicate 
with  staff  directly,  to  keep  their  understanding  and  enthusiasm 
up,  since  they  continued  to  work  with  the  kids  after  our  brief 
encounters  were  over. 

Probably  the  crowning  moments  of  the  production  process 
were  the  days  each  group  of  kids  came  to  our  set.  A  scruffy  irrev- 
erent film  crew  suddenly  found  themselves  talking  as  teachers, 
explaining  single-perf  vs.  double  perf,  how  a  Nagra  works,  the 
proper  mix  for  film  blood.  The  kids  loved  the  make  up  area,  the 
dolly,  the  grips'  rope-tying  secrets,  being  extras.  The  crew  was 
buoyed  by  their  interest  and  humor.  A  sense  of  mission  infused 
those  days.  We  hoped  the  kids  would  see  that  there  is  teamwork, 
very  long  hours,  and  a  variety  of  jobs  on  a  film  set.  We  encour- 
aged them  to  imagine  themselves  here,  and  think  about  what  job 
they  would  enjoy.  These  visits  were  high  moments  for  all  of  us. 
In  post,  the  kids  watched  Jim  Klein,  our  editor,  click  away  on  the 
Avid.  Then  he  challenged  them  to  "cut  a  scene"  to  their  liking, 
and  some  did. 

Certainly  the  most  meaningful  activity  for  the  kids  was  the 
opportunity  to  make  their  own  short  movie,  with  guidance  and 
equipment  from  Steve  Bognar,  Ed  Radtke,  and  the  Ohio  Arts 
Council.  Bognar  is  a  12-year  veteran  of  working  with  kids  in 
schools  through  the  Ohio  Arts  Council's  stellar  Arts  in 
Education  program.  As  Bognar  observes,  "These  young  men 
took  the  work  incredibly  seriously.  This  surprised  me,  because  so 


Sizing  up  a  shot  at  the  Greene  County  Treatment  Center. 


many  young  people  use  humor  and  sarcasm  as  a  shield.  But  these 
guys  cut  to  the  chase,  negotiating  with  each  other  story  ideas, 
shot  ideas,  specific  cuts." 

The  kids  had  been  through  all  aspects  of  filmmaking — writing 
a  storyboard,  rehearsing  actors,  shooting,  taking  sound,  and  edit- 
ing. By  this  time,  they  were  prepared  for  their  three-  to  four-day 
immersion  in  filmmaking,  as  they  reached  the  project's  video 
production  phase.  Most  groups  made  short  pieces  about  break- 
ing the  law,  screwing  up,  and  facing  consequences. 

Bognar  adds,  "We  valued  the  kids'  own  stories,  their  own  lives. 
This  was  new  to  them — that  their  mistakes,  like  Ed's,  were  a  val- 
ued part  of  their  life,  to  be  learned  from,  and  they  could  be  the 
basis  of  artistic  expression."  Currier  adds,  "In  most  facilities,  the 
emphasis  is  on  getting  the  right  message  to  the  kids. 
Unfortunately  we  rarely  look  for  messages  from  them." 

The  whole  world  of  media  artists  working  with  at-risk 
and  incarcerated  youth  has  mushroomed  since  1997  when  the 
DYFP  was  launched.  We  knew  of  no  precedent  to  our  work.  And 
in  the  course  of  carrying  out  this  year-long 
project,  we  learned  a  lot. 
Making  the  overall  program  shorter — say 
four  to  five  months — and  less  sporadic 
would  have  been  better.  But  working  with 
Bognar  and  Radtke  as  artists-in-residence 
during  the  video  production  phase  should 
have  been  a  much  longer,  more  in-depth 
experience,  since  making  their  own  films 
had  the  most  impact  on  the  teens.  For  us, 
the  fact  that  the  Iddings  Foundation  doled 
out  the  money  in  very  small  pieces,  spread 
out  over  more  than  a  year,  made  it  difficult 
to  plan  and  schedule. 

The  program  was  not  perfect.  Because  of  the  realities  of  juvie 
life,  very  few  of  the  kids  went  through  the  whole  program.  This 
was  unfortunate.  Nonetheless,  it  made  an  impact  on  many  of  the 
young  participants,  and  it  definitely  affected  us  filmmakers,  pro- 
viding a  measure  of  that  kind  of  meaningful  work  we'd  set  out  to 
find  when  we  embarked  on  this  feature  film  project. 

When  The  Dream  Catcher  was  finally  done,  kids  came  down- 
town to  the  beautiful  Victoria  Theatre  to  see  "their  movie."  The 
director  and  actors  had  a  private  meeting  with  them  backstage 
just  before  curtain.  Then  the  kids  sat  among  900  other  audience 
members.  Although  The  Dream  Catcher  was  a  35mm  blow  up 
and  the  kids'  movies  were  mini-DV,  all  the  mediamakers  bonded 
in  the  experience  of  examining  and  affirming  their  lives  though 
the  telling  of  their  stories. 

A  study  guide  for  using  The  Dream  Catcher  with  adolescents  was 
written  by  Eric  Johnson,  with  funding  from  the  Iddings  Foundation,. 
The  guide  and  a  VHS  copy  of  the  film  are  available  to  teachers  and 
youth  workers  for  $20  from:  CultureWorks,  126  N.  Main  St., 
Dayton  Ohio  45401. 

Julia  Reichert  [iulia@donet.com]  has  been  an  independent  filmmaker  for  30 

years.  In  addition  to  her  work  as  producer  of The  Dream  Catcher,  she  and 

partner  Steve  Bogriar  are  making  a  feature-length  documentary  about  kids 

fighting  cancer. 


38     THE    INDEPENDENT     March  2001 


The  room  crackles  with  excitement.  Four  black  teenagers 
stand  in  front  of  microphones;  a  singer,  two  guitars,  and  a  bass. 
An  older  guy  at  a  big  mixing  board  says, "Quiet,  we're  going  for 
take  two,  in  3..2..1.."  The  song  tumbles  out.  It's  a  slow  R&B 
number  called  "Mama,  I'm  Sorry." 

This  same  scene  could  take  place  in  any  town  across  America, 
except  in  this  room  the  windows  are  barred  and  the  players  are 
serving  hard  time.  The  setting  is  the  Madison  Correctional 
Institution  in  rural  Ohio.  Here  Ohio  youth  under  18  charged  as 
adults  serve  time.  Some  are  as  young  as  15,  serving  years  for 
crimes  from  aggravated  robbery  to  manslaughter.  There  are  cur- 
rently 79  youth  age  17  and  below  at  Madison. 

Through  special  arrangement  with  Ohio  Prevention  and 
Education  Resource  Center  (OPERC),  filmmaker  Ed  Radtke  led 
a  small  team  of  media  artists  who  worked  with  about  two  dozen 
young  men  for  seven  weeks.  It  all  started  when  Radke's  old  pro- 
bation officer,  Tim  Currier,  arranged  for  Ed  and  OPERC  staff  to 
show  The  Dream  Catcher  to  youth  at  Madison.  The  ensuing  dia- 
log was  so  intense  and  positive  that  OPERC  asked  Ed  how  he 
could  continue.  The  filmmaker  sensed  a  well  of  creative  energy, 
and  agreed  to  try. 

When  Radtke  asked  about  the  inmates'  wishes,  he  found  a 
groundswell  of  desire  to  record  songs  they  had  written  and  prac- 
ticed but  never  had  the  opportunity  to  record.  He  then  con- 
vinced professional  sound  mixer  Tim  Berger,  who  he'd  met  work- 
ing on  The  Dream  Catcher,  to  join  him  at  the  prison. 

The  two  were  touched  by  the  lyrics  and  intensity  of  the  songs 
and  amazed  at  the  quality  of  the  musicians  and  singers.  All  the 
songs  sprung  from  the  prison  experience.  A  few  minutes  after 
wrapping  "Mama,  I'm  Sorry,"  the  scene  changed.  A  group  of 
white  kids  stepped  up  and  recorded  "All  the  Way,"  a  fast  punky 
teen  angst  anthem  that  would  rock  mosh  pits  across  America. 
How  I  wish  I  was  free 
Free  to  do  the  things  that  help  me 
Break  away  from  these  chains  on  my  heart 
Give  myself  a  brand  new  start. 

According  to  Radtke,  when  the  inmates  heard  their  recorded 
and  mixed  songs  played  back  for  the  first  time,  some  wept.  "They 
were  overwhelmed,  yes,  but  they  also  immediately  realized  they 
could  now  share  their  expression.  As  with  all  media  artists,  that 
component  is  so  important,  that  ability  to  share  our  work." 

On  other  Saturdays  the  team  helped  to  record  inmates'  poet- 
ry, taught  photography  and  video,  recorded  interviews.  The 
hours  passed  quickly  and  basically  without  incident.  "I  am  so 
proud  of  the  work  we  did  there,"  says  Radtke.  "The  kids  are 
never  trusted  with  anything  in  prison.  When  we  handed  them  a 
camera  or  camcorder,  trusted  them  with  that,  showed  them  how 
to  use  it,  then  sent  them  off  to  capture  images,  their  faces 
showed  sheer  joy.  They  were  so  focused  on  the  work." 

While  there  were  no  real  tensions  between  the  inmates  and 
the  filmmakers,  there  were  increasing  difficulties  with  the  prison 
staff.  Restrictions  mounted,  disagreements  flared.  "We  had  never 
done  anything  like  this  before.  And  I'm  not  sure  we  would  do  it 
again,"  said  Carol  Canode,  assistant  warden  at  Madison. 

Media  artists  who  want  to  work  in  correctional  institutions 
should  be  realistic  about  the  institutional  perspective.  The  free- 
dom artists  are  used  to  was  impossible  in  this  setting.  Virginia 


Workman,  case  manager  at  Madison  remembers,  "On  the  one 
hand,  we  were  all  excited  and  did  everything  we  could  to  see  this 
happen  and  happen  in  a  relaxed  atmosphere.  On  the  other 
hand,  once  it  got  started  we  realized  it  was  a  security  nightmare. 
Ed  showed  up  with  so  much  valuable  equipment!  We  were  con- 
cerned with  theft,  because  how  could  we  keep  track  of  all  those 
cameras,  tapes,  film,  microphones?" 

Canode,  referring  to  mike  cables,  explained,  "A  cord  could  be 
used  to  tie  someone  up.  A  6  -to  8-pound  camcorder  or  a  micro- 
phone could  be  used  as  a  weapon.  We  wanted  everything  to 
work  out,  but  what  if  the  situation  got  out  of  hand?" 

Prison  officials  were  concerned  with  eliminating  what  they 
viewed  as  gang  signs  or  any  negativity  toward  the  prison  that 
might  be  recorded.  Any  image  or  sound  captured  on  film  or  tape, 
or  even  written  on  paper,  had  to  be  reviewed  by  the  prison 
administration.  This  was  frustrating  to  the  media  artists  and 
OPERC,  who  wanted  to  create  a  finished  piece  but  waited 
months  for  the  okay.  The  fact  that  mini  DV  and  S-VHS  gear  was 
used  posed  an  additional  hurdle,  since  the  prison  did  not  have 
access  to  those  formats.  Hours  of  material  languished  in  a  card- 
board box. 

Here  are  a  few  things  we  learned  from  the  experience  that  can 
help  others: 

Artists  should  realize  they  are  entering  a  different  culture. 

Security  is  a  paramount  concern. 

Every  piece  of  equipment — down  to  cables,  batteries,  lens 
caps,  and  adapters — should  be  inventoried  before  entering  and 
re-inventoried  again  leaving. 

Every  roll  of  film  or  tape  should  be  labeled  and  accounted  for. 
Use  formats  that  are  assessable  or  provide  necessary  gear  for  offi- 
cials to  review  your  tapes.  Usually,  everything  must  be  reviewed. 

Keep  exactly  to  pre-arranged  schedules  and  plan  of  content. 

Prisons  are  rigid  as  institutions  go. 

In  spite  of  the  hurdles,  the  work  of  building  a  relationship  with 
an  institution  is  well  worth  it.  Incarcerated  youth  deal  with 

deadening 
hours  of  bore- 
dom. Given  a 
tape  recorder 
and  a  camera, 
these  young 
men  awaken 
with  desire  to 
express. 

—  Julia 
R  e  i  ch  ert 


Top:  Inmate  Stephen  McKinney  checks  the 
sound  during  a  shot. 

McKinney  interviews  an  older  inmate  who 
has  been  inside  for  years. 


•s 


March 


THE    INDEPENDENT      39 


For  all  the  creativity  that  goes  into  the  writing  and  pro- 
duction  of  feature  films,  there's  still  a  troubling  amount  of  homo- 
geneity that  goes  into  their  theatrical  release.  We  see  the  same 
marketing  models,  the  same  advertising  techniques,  the  same 
distribution  patterns.  So  much  so  that  the  ways  of  theatrical  dis- 
tribution seem  like  immutable  laws  of  nature.  But  then  there  are 
people  like  David  Riker  who  come  along  and  prove  that  they're 
not. 

Riker  began  shaking  things  up  in  1998  when  he  directed  La 


David  Riker  directing  three  flower 
vendors  in  a  scene  from  La  Cuidad 
that  was  shot  in  Corona,  Queens, 
just  steps  from  the  Latino-owned 
Plaza  Theater,  where  the  film  would 
later  play  to  packed  houses. 


Ciudad,  a  feature-length 
quartet  of  stories  about 
immigrant         life  in 

America's    inner    cities. 
First,    Riker   decided    to 
make  his  film  in  Spanish 
with  English  subtitles,  causing  eyebrows  to  shoot  up.  He 
further  fueled  the  arguments  of  skeptics  by  choosing  to 
shoot  in  black  and  white.  Then  he  put  himself  on  the  line 
by  workshopping  the  script  with  Latin  American  immi- 
grants and  casting  these  nonactors  in  virtually  every  part. 
But  skeptics'  predictions  fizzled  when  the  film  picked 
up  prize  after  prize  and  stellar  reviews.  What's  more, 
Riker  once  again  proved  his  ability  to  think  outside  of 
the  box  when  it  came  time  to  distribute  the  film.  In  this 
article,  Riker  describes  his  scheme  to  reach  beyond  art- 
house    theaters    and   attract   Latino   communities   in 
Queens  and  Washington  Heights  in  New  York  City.  His  plan  was 
ingenious,  brazen,  and  enormously  successful,  but  most  signifi- 
cantly, it  can  serve  as  a  reproduceable  model  for  other  filmmak- 


ers who  want  to  target  specialized  audiences. 

The  following  is  an  excerpt  from  a  longer  discussion  about  La 
Ciudad  recorded  on  September  1,  2000  at  Anthology  Film 
Archives  by  the  Artists  Network  of  Refuse  &  Resist! 
[www.artistsnetwork.org]  It  was  part  of  their  series  "Inside  the 
Culture  of  Resistance,"  videotaped  interviews  with  artists  which 
are  being  edited  into  programs  for  future  broadcast.  Here  Riker 
answers  a  question  about  the  film's  visibility  in  the  Latin 
American  community. 

When   La 
Ciudad  was 
released, 
[our      dis- 
tributor] 
Zeitgeist 
approached  the  film  as  a  fairly 
standard  arthouse  release.   Like 
every  other  distributor  we  had 
spoken   with,   Zeitgeist   strongly 
believed   the   Latino    audience 
would  be  small  and  extremely 
difficult    to    reach.    The    film 
opened   at  the  Quad  on   13th 
Street  [in  New  York  City],  but 
the  very  first  weekend,  it  was 
clear  that  the  audience  was  not 
only  arthouse.  Latinos  were  also 
coming   to   see 
it.     Immigrant 
workers     were 
coming  to  see 
it.    They   were 
walking  around 
13th       Street, 
lost,  asking  people,  'Where  is 
the  film  The  Immigrant  playing?' 
They   had   just   heard   through   the 
grapevine   there   was   a   film   about 
them;   some   didn't   even   know   the 
title.  On  the  first  weekend,  people 
ame      from      as      far      away      as 
Philadelphia,  Jersey  City,  parts 
of  Connecticut,  Long  Island. 
They  were  coming  with  their 
babies.    And    I    learned    on 
Sunday  that  the  theater  was 
turning  them  away,  because 
the  Quad  has  a  policy  of  not 
admitting    children    under 
five.  By  Monday,  the  num- 
bers had  been  so  good  the 
owner  of  the  theater  agreed 
to  waive  the  policy,  and  the 
film,  instead  of  playing  two 
or  three  weeks,  played  there 
almost  three  months.  The 
reason     is     because      the 


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•UNA  EXPEBEENCIA  SIN  IGUALT 

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40     THE 


DEPENDENT     March  2001 


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Latinos  were  coming  in  addition  to  the  Quad's  regular  arthouse 
audience. 

When  the  film  finished  its  run  at  the  Quad,  I  asked  Zeitgeist 
for  permission  to  open  it  up  in  theaters  in  the  city's  Latino  neigh- 
borhoods. Zeitgeist  agreed,  since  there  was  no  risk  to  them,  and 
we  negotiated  a  separate  deal  to  allow  me  to  re -release  the  film 
in  a  Latino  market. 

But  I  didn't  know  anything  about  how  to  distribute  a  film.  All 
I  knew,  because  it  was  in  the  Latino  press  so  much  as  a  kind  of 
historic  accomplishment  of  the  community,  was  that  there  was 
an  audience  for  it.  And  I  knew 
that  the  main  chain  of  Latino  the- 
aters     had      previously      asked 
Zeitgeist  for  the  film  in  the  first 
week  of  its  release,  but  Zeitgeist 
had  declined,   saying   that   there 
was  a  risk  they  would  never  be 
paid. 

So  I  went  to  these  theaters  and 
asked  if  they  were  still  interested, 
and  they  said  they  were.  I  said,  I 
don't  know  how  to  do  this,  but  I    v> 
know  I  need  money  for  ads.  Will    - 
you    advance    me    money?.  And 
these    theater   owners   gave    me 
$2,500  each — something  which,  if 
you've  ever  dealt  with 
theaters,"is  unheard  of. 
That   they'd   give   you 
money     before     they 
even  got  the  film.  They 
gave   me   cash;   I   had 
7,500  bucks.  With  that 
I  knew  I  could  buy  a 
few    ads     and    make 
leaflets  and  for  $2,500 
make  a  third  print. 

Then  I  had  an  idea 
to  ask  the  theaters  to 
do  something  else 
they've  never  done, 
which  is  to  let  people 
see  the  film  without 
paying.  I  went  to  the 
theaters  and  said,  "I 
have  a  brilliant  idea; 
it's  going  to  make  you  a 

lot  of  money.  Let  everyone  come  in  for  free  from  Monday  morn- 
ing until  Friday  at  5  p.m.,  as  long  as  they're  school  groups  in  pub- 
lic schools.  Open  up  the  theaters.  To  begin  with,  no  one  comes 
into  your  theaters  until  the  evening.  So  why  not  let  the  commu- 
nity see  it?  And  I  can  use  that  to  get  things  rolling." 

They  were  looking  at  each  other  like  it's  absurd,  but  somehow 
I  convinced  them  to  do  it.  Then  I  got  some  of  the  Latino  politi- 
cians who  saw  it  as  a  worthwhile  cause  to  agree  to  do  a  big  press 
conference.  And  there  we  were,  in  front  of  one  of  these  theaters 
up  in  Washington  Heights,  with  all  the  community  leaders  and 
politicians — and  the  theater  owners,  who  had  borrowed  suits  ntl 


"*  tv 


the  peg  to  be  there,  for  the  first  time,  in  front  of  the  cameras.  We 
had  a  slogan,  which  was,  "The  doors  are  open."  Every  school  age 
child  could  see  this  for  free. 

The  theaters  were  packed.  Teachers  had  something  to  do. 
They  could  afford  it.  The  kids  went  home  and  told  their  parents. 
So  on  the  weekends,  the  theaters  were  packed.  Cipriano  Garcia, 
I,  and  half  a  dozen  of  the  other  actors  were  there  every  day,  every 
night,  handing  out  leaflets,  talking  to  the  audiences.  We  would 
raid  the  theaters — we'd  go  up  on  the  stage,  the  six  of  us,  before 
the  film  began.  There'd  be  hundreds  of  Latin  American  immi- 
grants and  their  families. 
The  fact  that  the  actors 
they'd   heard   about   on 
TV  were  on  the  stage 
made  it  really  very  mov- 
ing. 

And  we  would  hand 
out  thousands  of  leaflets, 
which  they  would  take 
out.  Also,  because  there 
was  this  "children  go 
free"  policy,  I  could  go  to 
Univision,  which  is  the 
number  one  television 
station  for  the  Latin 
American  community, 
and  get  them  to  put  a 
free  PSA  on.  They  ran  it 
five  or  six  times  a  day  for 
six  or  seven  weeks.  It 
would  have  cost  about 
$200,000. 

So  every  week  we  were 
beating  the  new 
Hollywood  films.  For  the 
first  time  I  began  reading 
the  trades!  Because  I 
would  see  Scream  2  is 
coming  out,  and  we 
would  take  it  as  a  chal- 
lenge. And  then  it  would 
happen:  Saturday  night, 
Screen  1  at  the  theaters 
would  be  La  Ciudad  and 
packed,  and  Screen  2 
would  be  screening  to  an 
empty  room.  It  showed 
that  the  only  reason  Hollywood  dominates  is  because  we  let 
them  dominate.  They  have  a  system;  it  works  for  them.  Bui  it's 
not  because  that's  what  people  want  to  see.  The  minute  that 
they  were  offered  an  alternative  that  had  some  kind  o(  meaning 
to  them,  they  went  to  it.  We  outlived  Tigger  Movie,  PLi\  it  to  the 
Bone,  and  about  five  or  six  other  films.  So  in  total  the  film  played 
for  almost  five  months  in  Now  York  City. 

[This  model  tor  the  theatrical  release]  wasn't  used  outside  of 
New  York,  and  I'm  very  upset  about  it.  Not  just  because  I  would 
like  that  community  to  see  the  film  in  their  neighborhoods,  but 


March   2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      41 


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because  the  revenue  from  the  film  would 
have  reached  a  critical  point,  at  which  it 
could  have  been  used  as  an  example  to 
justify  other  people  doing  the  same  thing. 
The  film  could  have  broken  a  magical 
number,  like  a  million  dollars,  at  which 
point  any  other  filmmaker  could  use  the 
same  argument  and  the  distributor  is 
going  to  say,  'let's  try  it.'  It  didn't  get  to 
that  point. 

[We  didn't  reproduce  the  model  else- 
where] not  because  it  couldn't  be  done, 
but  because  I  personally  couldn't  do  it. 
The  model  was  so  sound.  For  example, 
for  those  six  weeks  in  Queens  and 
Washington  Heights,  the  film  earned  a 
quarter  of  all  the  income  it  made  in  a 
year  of  playing  in  60  cities.  It's  clear  if 
someone  had  taken  the  same  model — it 
was  really  a  blueprint,  going  for  the 
schools,  getting  them  in  for  free;  there 
was  a  precedent  set  that  Univision  would 
offer  free  ads  — the  same  could  be  repeat- 
ed in  at  least  eight  to  10  cities  where 
there's  a  very  large  Latin  American  pop- 
ulation. I  offered  the  model  and  the  blue- 
print to  the  distributor,  but  it  never  hap- 
pened. And  for  me  it  would  have  been 
another  year,  and  I've  been  trying  to 
move  on  to  other  work  for  a  long  time. 

Editor's  note:  But  before  Riker  could 
move  on  to  his  next  film,  he  threw  him- 
self into  one  final  marketing  effort — that 
surrounding  the  PBS  broadcast  of  La 
Ciudad  on  September  22,  2000.  ITVS, 
which  helped  fund  the  film,  hired  a  full- 
time  activist  for  six  months  to  travel 
around  the  country  and  show  La  Ciudad 
to  community  organizations  and  immi- 
grant rights  groups,  and  it  printed  50,000 
discussion  guides  in  English  and  Spanish. 
Such  grassroots  outreach  efforts  are 
rarely  found  when  it  comes  to  fiction 
films,  whether  they're  on  television  or  in 
theaters.  On  both  counts,  La  Ciudad 
broke  the  mold.  Hopefully,  other  film- 
makers will  have  the  grit,  tenacity,  and 
commitment  to  follow  in  Riker's  foot- 
steps. 

La  Ciudad  is  available  through  Zeitgeist 
Films  (for  35mm)  and  New  Yorker  Films 
(for  video) — ivww.zeitgesitfilm.com  and 
www.  newyorkerfilms .  com 

David  Riker  [riker@igc.org]  is  a  New  York- 
based  independent  filmmaker. 


42    THE    INDEPENDENT     March  2001 


www.aivf.org 


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MediaRights.org 


by  Lissa  Gibbs 


MoHiaRights 


Some  of  the 

mediarights 

team  at  the 

IFP  market: 

(l-r)  Jenny 

Baum,  Julia 

Pimsleur, 

Nicole 

Betancourt, 

David 

Latimer. 


MediaRights.org,  104  W.  14th  St.,  #4, 

New  York,  NY  10011; 

(646)  230-6288;  fax:  230-6328; 

info@mediarights.org; 

www.mediarights.org; 

contacts:  Julia  Pimsleur,  co-founder  and 

president;  Katy  Chevigny,  co-founder. 


What  exactly  is  MediaRights.org? 

MediaRights.org  is  a  nonprofit  community  web  site 
designed  to  make  social-issue  documentaries  and 
advocacy  videos  easy  to  find.  We  are  helping  com- 
munity organizers  integrate  social-issue  documen- 
taries into  their  action  campaigns  and  encouraging 
filmmakers  to  learn  how  to  work  with  community 
organizers. 

Driving  philosophy  behind  MediaRights.org: 

We  want  to  build  a  bridge  between  mediamakers 
and  activists  working  on  social  and  environmental 
issues  in  the  U.S  in  order  to  increase  the  impact  of 
both  of  their  work. 

Who  is  MediaRights  ? 

Jenny  Baum,  associate  creative  director;  Nicole 
Betancourt,  creative  director;  Katy  Chevigny,  finan- 
cial manager;  David  Latimer,  director  of  business 
development;  Julia  Pimsleur,  co-founder  and  pres- 
ident; and  Marc  Antony  Vose,  technical  lead. 

How,  when,  and  why  did  MediaRights  come  into 
being? 

I  [Julie  Pimsleur]  have  been  a  producer  of  social- 
issue  documentaries  for  several  years  with  my  com- 
pany Big  Mouth  Productions  (co-founded  with  my 
business  partner  and  old  friend,  Katy  Chevigny). 
Some  of  our  films  include  Innocent  Until  Proven 
Guilty,  Nuyorican  Dream,  and  Brother  Born  Again— 
all  films  for  which  we  planned  and  executed  outreach 
campaigns.  I  had  always  been  frustrated  with  the 
lack  of  resources  at  a  filmmaker's  disposal  for  doing 
educational  outreach,  which  I  consider  a  crucial  part 
of  any  documentary  distribution  plan.  The  idea  for 


MediaRights.org  came  to  me  after  a 
brainstorming  meeting  at  the  Ford 
Foundation  in  1998.  I  was  finishing 
up  the  production  of  Innocent  Until  Proven  Guilty 
when  our  program  officer  at  the  Ford  Foundation, 
Alan  Jenkins,  invited  me  to  a  meeting  with  a  group 
of  15  activists  and  mediamakers  to  talk  about  how 


we  could  work  better  together.  We  all  expressed  a 
need  to  keep  up  with  each  other's  work  and  stay 
informed  about  new  projects — thus  the  beginnings 
of  a  web  site.  The  name  comes  from  the  meeting  of 
mediamakers  and  [human]  rights  organizers. 

The  reason  we  started  MediaRights  is  that  we 
believe . . . 

independent  mediamakers  and  people  working  for 
social  change  in  the  field  are  natural  allies. 
Nonprofits  and  filmmakers  already  do  collaborate 
on  occasion  and  we  think  they  would  collaborate 
more  often  if  given  the  opportunity.  We  want  to 
make  it  easy  for  these  parties  to  find  each  other, 
use  the  films  that  already  exist,  and 
create  media  for  social  change  togeth- 
er. The  Internet  is  the  perfect  place  to 
create  this  kind  of  community  that 
crosses  geographic,  age,  gender,  race, 
and  professional  lines.  We  organize  our 
site  around  the  issues  that  mediamak- 
ers, activists  and  educators  are  all 
passionate  about,  including  racial  jus- 
tice, economic  justice,  women's  rights, 
and  health  issues. 

Where  does  the  money  come  from  to 
fund  MediaRights'  activities? 

Our  main  funders  to  date  are  the  Ford 
Foundation  and  the  Open  Society 
Institute.  We  are  currently  approaching 
other  foundations  and  also  building  in 
revenue  streams  to  the  site  itself.  Our 
goal  is  to  be  self-sustaining  by  2005. 
MediaRights.org  is  a  project  of  Arts 
Engine.  Inc..  a  nonprofit  501(c)3. 

If  I  went  to  MediaRights 
site,  what  would  I  find? 
MediaRights  features  a 
database  of  over  1.200 
social  issue  documen- 
taries organized  around 
14  social  issues  and  a 
database  of  over  600,000 
nonprofits  in  the  U.S.  There  are  also  resources  for 
filmmakers  (funding  sources,  production  tips, 
etc.),  original  articles  about  successful  education- 
al outreach  campaigns,  and  other  examples  of  how 


March   2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      43 


DISTRIBUTOR 


media  can  be  used  to  make  a  difference.  You  can 
register  as  a  member,  list  your  film,  and  add  your- 
self to  the  activist/nonprofit  database  or  the  media- 
makers  database.  You  can  also  post  messages  or 
review  films  in  our  database.  We  are  in  the  process 
of  doing  a  major  redesign  right  now  [due  for  com- 
pletion by  February],  Some  of  the  new  features  will 
include:  On  TV,  a  television  schedule  of  social-issue 
documentaries  on  cable;  a  Youth  Center  for  young 
mediamakers  and  activists;  and  the  Media  That 
Matters  Online  Film  Festival. 


How  is  the  site  organized? 

From  the  home  page  you  can  search  for  films  or 
nonprofit  organizations  and  see  our  current  and 
past  articles.  We  feature  14  main  issues  around 


"We  are  providing  easy  access 
for  documentary  film  purchasers  to 
find  the  films  of  over  20  educational 
distributors  in  one  place." 


which  our  site  is  organized,  which  include  econom- 
ic justice,  the  environment,  racial  justice,  immigra- 
tion, and  health.  One  way  you  can  easily  keep  up 
with  what  is  going  on  at  MediaRights.org  is  to  reg- 
ister as  a  member  (it's  free)  and  then  you  will 
receive  our  e-mail  newsletter  every  few  weeks. 
Being  a  member  also  gives  you  the  ability  to  cus- 
tomize the  newsletter  (and  eventually  the  whole 
site)  to  your  particular  interests. 

On  the  web,  what's  the  difference  between  dis- 
tribution and  exhibition? 

We  are  acting  as  an  outlet  for  distributors — we  are 
providing  easy  access  for  documentary  film  pur- 
chasers to  find  the  films  of  over  20  educational 
distributors  in  one  place.  Users  of  our  site  buy  or 
rent  videotapes  directly  from  the  distributors. 
Eventually,  when  enough  people  have  access  to 
greater  bandwidth,  we  will  stream  trailers  and  per- 
haps make  it  possible  for  people  to  download  an 
entire  film.  We  are  waiting  for  streaming  video  to 
be  as  easy  and  reliable  as  reading  information  and 
also  for  working  business  models  of  how  people 
can  exhibit  online  and  still  earn  a  living.  We  have 
been  watching  the  music  industry  and  the  Napster 
debate  very  closely,  since  we  will  be  facing  many  of 
the  same  issues  in  the  film  industry.  We  are  mak- 
ing forays  into  streaming  media,  such  as  our  online 
film  festival  which  we  will  premiere  in  June:  The 
Media  that  Matters  Online  Film  Festival,  co-pre- 
sented with  the  Human  Rights  Watch  International 
Film  Festival  and  powered  by  Reelplay.com. 

What's  the  difference  between  MediaRights 
and  a  traditional  distributor? 

Just  to  clarify,  we  are  not  a  distributor.  We  are 
working  with  educational  distributors  to  provide  an 
Internet  outlet  for  their  collections  and  for  individ- 
ual filmmakers.  Over  20  educational  distributors 
have  given  us  their  catalogue  listings,  which  are 
now  included  in  our  database,  and  numerous  film- 
makers have  submitted  their  films  directly  to  us.  In 
addition  to  making  films  more  easily  available  to 
traditional  documentary  buyers,  such  as  teachers 
and  librarians,  we  are  approaching  new  markets. 
We  will  be  attending  conferences  and  doing  work- 
shops about  using  media  for  social  change  in  the 
upcoming  months.  We  are  also  talking  to  other  web 
sites,  especially  community  sites,  about  putting 
our  database  on  their  site  to  make  our  films  avail- 
able to  their  users. 

What's  appealing  to  a  filmmaker  about  having 
his/her  work  listed  on  MediaRights? 

By  listing  your  film  with  MediaRights,  your  work  is 


Top  to  Bottom:  MediaRights's  home  page;  Larry  Selman, 
title  character  in  I'm  a  Collector,  pictured  with  filmmaker 
Alice  Elliot;  Jimmy  Marks  celebrates  a  victory  in  Federal 
courts  in  Jasmine  DeUaYs  American  Gypsy. 


made  available  to  powerful  community  leaders 
across  the  country.  It's  great  exposure  if  you  want 
your  film  to  be  used  for  social  change.  We  link 
directly  to  the  e-mail  or  web  site  of  the  filmmaker 
or  distributor,  whoever  is  selling  the  video  to  the 
educational  market.  Another  useful  feature  we 
have  is  that  filmmakers  can  have  their  films 
reviewed  by  users.  And  we  highlight  at  least  one 
film  per  month  from  our  database  on  our  home 
page,  helping  to  give  the  film  more  exposure  and  an 
extra  push. 

Our  site  makes  it  easier  for  people  who  use 
media  to  find  useful  films  and  it  also  makes  it  eas- 
ier for  people  who  don't  traditionally  use  media  to 
find  films,  because  they  browse  the  collection  by 
issue.  For  example,  a  teacher  looking  for  media  on 
the  civil  rights  movement  might  come  to  our  site 
looking  for  a  well-known  series  like  Eyes  on  the 
Prize  and  might  find  three  other  films  in  the  same 
category.  They  might  buy  two  films  from  two  differ- 
ent distributors  and  one  made  by  a  filmmaker  who 
hasn't  yet  found  a  distributor.  We  even  list  works- 
in-progress. 

Describe  the  type  of  media  works  listed  on 
MediaRights: 

We  have  written  articles  about  the  educational  out- 
reach campaigns  for  such  documentaries  as  A 
Force  More  Powerful;  The  Farm:  Angola,  USA;  and 
Legacy.  Our  database  includes  over  1,200  social- 
issue  documentaries,  and  we  expect  it  to  double  in 
four  months.  We  are  adding  a  "YM"  symbol  which 
will  identify  youth-produced  work,  because  there 
are  a  lot  of  young  people  making  videos  and  not 
many  ways  for  them  to  distribute  their  work.  The 
other  thing  that  sets  us  apart  is  that  we  are  aggre- 
gating advocacy  videos — short  films  that  are  used 
by  nonprofits  to  get  their  points  across.  Though 
there  are  thousands  of  these  videos  out  there, 
there  is  no  way  to  find  them  on  or  offline,  except  on 
MediaRights.org. 

How  is  the  decision  made  to  add  titles  to  the 
site? 

Anyone  who  wants  to  list  his/her  film  can.  The  only 
criteria  is  that  the  film  must  be  a  social-issue  doc- 
umentary. Filmmakers  can  go  to  the  site  and  click 
on  "List  Your  Film."  We  verify  the  information  and 
add  it  to  our  database.  Distributors  can  list  all  or 
part  of  their  collection  with  MediaRights.  We  work 
with  them  to  find  which  films  fit  into  our  categories. 

How  many  "hits"  are  recorded  daily  on 
MediaRights? 

We  don't  have  a  lot  of  traffic  at  the  moment 
because  we  are  new  (we  launched  in  July  2000) 
and  are  just  at  the  beginning  of  our  public  relations 
campaign.  Word  is  getting  out,  though,  via  our  cur- 
rent users  and  our  partners.  Our  users  and  mem- 


44    THE    INDEPENDENT     March  2001 


bers  double  monthly.  We  partnered  with  more 
established  web  sites  such  as  Human  Rights 
Watch,  Witness,  and  the  Benton  Foundation,  who 
help  to  drive  traffic  to  our  site. 

How  do  people  find  out  about  MediaRights.org? 

We  work  very  closely  with  our  partners,  which  are 
like-minded  organizations  such  as  AIVF,  ITVS,  and 
Paper  Tiger  TV,  as  well  as  the  ones  mentioned 
above.  They  link  to  us  off  their  sites  and  through 
this  coalition  we  are  able  to  reach  over  30,000,000 
people  and  create  collaborative  initiatives.  We  are 
also  listed  with  many  online  directories/search 
engines. 

The  most  important  issue  facing  MediaRights 
today  is. . . 

Finding  ways  to  be  self-sustaining.  We  are  grateful 
for  our  foundation  support,  but  want  to  make  sure 
that  we  can  support  our  own  operating  costs  so  in 
the  future  we  don't  have  to  rely  on  funding. 

Five  years  from  now  MediaRights  will. . . 

be  the  best  place  to  find  social  issue  documen- 
taries. We  will  also  be  streaming  films  in  our  online 
theater,  helping  filmmakers  to  plan  and  execute 
their  outreach  campaigns,  and  enabling  nonprofits 
to  easily  find  films  or  make  new  films  about  specif- 
ic social  issues. 

The  Internet  has  a  huge  potential  for  changing 
the  way  just  about  everything  is  distributed.  Do 
you  think  an  electronic  nonprofit  such  as 
MediaRights  represents  the  future  model  of 
media  advocacy  in  this  country? 
I  think  the  web  is  a  great  resource  for  aggregating 
information,  but  it  doesn't  replace  traditional  out- 
reach. MediaRights.org  makes  it  possible  for  people 
to  find  each  other  easily,  but  they  still  need  to  cre- 
ate relationships  "off  line"  or  face-to-face. 
MediaRights  will  be  building  more  tools  for  nonprof- 
its and  filmmakers  to  use  right  off  the  web  site,  but 
filmmakers  and  activists  will  always  have  to  roll  up 
their  sleeves  and  make  those  personal  connections. 
Any  web  site,  like  a  traditional  distributor,  is  only  as 
good  as  the  people  running  it.  I  am  very  fortunate  to 
have  an  extremely  talented  and  committed  staff, 
who  are  not  only  great  people  but  have  years  of 
experience  and  really  believe  in  what  we  are  doing. 

Distributor  FAQ  profiles  a  wide  range  of  distributors  of 
independent  film  and  video.  Send  profile  sugestions  to 
Lissa  Gibbs,  c/o  The  Independent,  304  Hudson  St.,  6  fl., 
New  York,  NY  10013;  or  drop  an  email  to  lissag@earth 
link.net 

Lissa  Gibbs  is  a  contributing  editor  to  The  Independent 

and  former  Film  Arts  Foundation  Fest  director.  AIVF  is 

one  of  MediaRights.org's  partner  organizations. 


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March   2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      45 


Film  Arts  Foundation 


FAF  grants 
associate 
Adrianna 
Rosas-Walsh  (r) 
with  Amahl 
Khouri,  the  1999 
STAND  recipient. 


What  is  Film  Arts  Foundation? 

FAF  supports  the  creation,  exhibition  and  distribu- 
tion of  independent  film  and  video,  by  providing 
resources,  education,  and  exhibition  opportunities. 

When  and  why  did  FAF  come  into  being? 

FAF  was  founded  in  1976  by  a  handful  of  filmmak- 
ers who  felt  a  void  and  filled  it  by  creating  an  orga- 
nization that  now  services  3,400  members  working 
in  film,  video,  and  multimedia.  FAF's  membership 
spans  a  broad  range  from  students  to  Academy 
Award-winning  filmmakers.  Our  magazine, 
Release  Print,  is  the  link  to  all  our  members. 

Who  makes  up  the  foundation? 

Staff  is  12  full  time  with  five  part-time  positions 
and  extra  staff  when  needed  throughout  the  year. 
Over  half  of  the  staff  are  film-  and  videomakers. 

The  driving  philosophy  behind  FAF  is . . . 

That  all  independent  film-  and  videomakers  should 
have  the  tools  they  need  to  create,  exhibit,  and  dis- 
tribute their  projects,  and  that  independent  film  is 
seen  within  the  society  at  large  as  an  important 
artistic  and  cultural  contribution  that  should  be 
supported  and  embraced. 

What  distinguishes  FAF  from  other  media  arts 
organizations? 

FAF  offers  education  and  training,  funding  and 
exhibition.  In  a  time  of  shrinking  resources,  we 
continue  to  offer  low  cost  access  to  production  and 
postproduction  equipment  (super  8,  16mm,  video, 
and  digital)  and  present  workshops  and  seminars 
on  high-end  and  low-end  technology  (film  hand- 
processing,  traditional  animation,  optical  printing). 
In  San  Francisco,  FAF  is  seen  as  the  institution  that 
makes  things  happen. 

When  and  why  did  you  decide  to  act  as  a  f un- 
der? 

Established  as  a  postproduction  center  and  a  fiscal 
sponsor,  FAF  grew  over  time,  adding  services,  and 
funding  seemed  the  next  logical  step.  In  1984, 
when  the  program  was  initiated,  the  NEA  was  still 
providing  grants  to  individuals  and  supporting  the 


Film  Arts  Foundation,  346  Ninth  St., 

2nd  fl.,  San  Francisco,  CA  94103; 

(415)  552-8760;  fax:  552-0882; 

www.filmarts.org 

contact:  Adriana  Rosas-Walsh,  grants 

associate/sponsorship 


NEA  Regional  Fellowships  Program.  At  the  time,  the 
NEA  western  region  was  13  states  and  territories, 
too  big  an  area  with  too  many  gifted  artists  and 
producers.  Northern  California  (along  with  the  AFI) 
provided  at  least  50%  of  the  applications 
annually,  which  constituted  most  of  the 
awards  to  West  Coast  artists.  Obviously 
this  was  not  enough! 

How  has  the  funding  climate  for  non- 
commercial independent  media 
changed  since  the  FAF  initiated  its 
grant  program? 

Other  small  funds  now  exist  and  after  a 
12  year  battle,  the  Independent  Television 
Service  (ITVS)  came  into  being  to  fund 
television  documentaries  and  narratives. 
ITVS  brought  more  money  into  funding 
media  for  TV,  and  at  the  same  time, 
smaller  funders  saw  media  being  funded 
and  decided  to  re-direct  their  resources 
to  other  issues.  Many  of  the  projects  FAF 
funds  in  development  end  up  getting 
completion  funding  from  ITVS. 

What  percentage  of  the  FAF's  overall 
budget  goes  towards  individual  film  or 
video  projects? 

All  proceeds  are  from  a  separate  Endowment 
which  is  strictly  in  existence  to  fund  FAF  grants. 
The  Endowment  fund  for  indie  media  provided 
about  $35,000  of  the  $68,000  we  granted  in  2000. 
The  Endowment  principle  now  totals  $600,000. 

How  many  awards  are  given  out  per  year  for 
each  grant?  What  is  the  total  dollar  amount 
awarded  annually? 

In  2000,  we  gave  16  cash  awards  valued  at 
$68,500  and  12  awards  in  materials  and  access 
valued  at  over  $52,000.  (Development  grants: 
$2,500;  Completion/Distribution:  $8,000.)  The 
amount  varies  annually  based  on  how  much  we 
earn  and  raise  from  other  sources. 

What  are  the  average  sizes  of  these  grants? 

Cash  awards  can  range  from  $2,500  to  $10,000: 


by  Michelle  Coe 

Materials  and  Access  awards  from  $1,500  (per 
grant)  to  $48,000  (awarded  to  one  feature  film- 
maker as  the  Eickman  Award).  Cash  awards 
amounts  depend  on  our  earnings  and  what  we 
raise  from  outside  funders. 

How  many  applications  do  you  get  on  average 
per  year? 

We  receive  an  average  of  350,  with  most  in  the 
Personal  Works  and  Completion/Distribution  cate- 
gories. 

What  are  the  restrictions  on  applicants'  qualifi- 
cations (e.g.,  ethnicity,  geography,  medium)? 


Grants  are  awarded  only  to  individuals  who  cur- 
rently reside,  and  have  resided  for  at  least  one  year 
prior  to  the  deadline,  in  the  10  Bay  Area  counties: 
San  Francisco,  Marin,  Sonoma,  Napa,  Solano, 
Alameda,  Contra  Costa,  San  Mateo,  Santa  Clara, 
and  Santa  Cruz. 

What  types  of  projects  does  FAF  seek? 

We  look  for  innovations  in  form,  projects  that  "push 
the  envelope."  Our  awards  are  targeted  for  film  and 
videomakers  in  categories  that  are  among  the  most 
difficult  areas  to  raise  funds:  i.e.,  experimental  or 
personal  shorts. 

Your  Cash  Awards  program  funds  projects  at 
various  stages  of  production.  Can  individuals 
funded  in  the  development  stage  come  back  to 
you  for  distribution  funds? 


46    THE    INDEPENDENT     March  2001 


Yes,  we  encourage  this  sort  ot  thing.  When  a  project 
returns  for  completion/distribution  funds  we 
already  have  a  stake  in  seeing  it  through  to  com- 
pletion. 

What  types  of  projects  does  the  Personal  Works 
grant  fund? 

Priority  is  given  to  artistic  concepts  that  challenge 
and  expand  the  film/video  art  form.  Also,  the  pro- 
ject must  begin  and  be  completed  within  the 
($4,000)  grant  amount. 


to  production  and  postproduction  equipment,  25 
hours  of  project  mentoring  by  a  professional  film- 
maker, and  exhibition  of  completed  works — with 
no  actual  cash  given. 

In  the  Blazing  Paradigm  Award,  one  recipient 
gets  use  of  a  Final  Cut  Pro  system  to  finish  their 
project  of  30  minutes  or  less,  and  development 


How  do  the  completion/distribution  grants  dif- 
fer? 

The  Completion/Distribution  grant  awards  the  final 
amount  needed  to  complete  or  distribute  the  pro- 
ject— no  more,  no  less.  Generally,  these  awards  go 
to  more  established  filmmakers. 

How  long  have  you  offered  STAND,  and  what  was 
the  motivation  to  establish  this  program? 

Because  we  always  received  grant  applications 
from  first-timers,  we  thought,  "How  can  we  best 
help  them  get  skills?"  STAND  (Support,  Training  & 
Access  for  New  Directors)  was  established  in  1996 
to  assist  individuals  who  see  themselves  as  an 
under-represented  community  and  have  no  prior 
production  in  their  name.  The  award's  value  is 
$1,500  in  services — including  training  and  access 


and  production  of  two  promo- 
tional pieces.  How  did  an  ad  agency  get 
involved  with  your  to  efforts  to  fund  less  con- 
ventional projects? 

Blazing  Paradigm  wanted  to  connect  with  the  Bay 
Area  indie  community  in  some  way,  and  our  devel- 
opment director  at  the  time  worked  closely  with 
them  to  create  a  program  that  would  best  suit  both 
parties.  The  corporate  world  is  always  looking  for 
new  talent,  as  well  as  creative  ways  to  give  back  to 
the  community. 

Does  the  Robin  Eickman  Feature  Film  Award 
fund  strictly  fiction  features? 

Yes.  The  only  other  requirements  are  that  a  project 
have  a  completed  screenplay  and  be  at  least  72 
minutes  in  length.  Priority  is  given  to  projects  with 
financing  for  the  balance  of  production  funds  in 
place. 

What  are  the  Phelan  Art  Awards?  How  is  this 


award  recipient  decided? 

The  Phelan  Art  Awards  in  Film  is  an  artist  fellow- 
ship given  every  other  year  in  recognition  of  high 
artistic  achievement  and  creativity  in  film.  One 
California-born  filmmaker  (regardless  of  current 
residency)  with  an  established  body  of  work  in  film 
(not  video)  is  awarded  $7,500.  These  filmmakers 
submit  work  themselves;  they  are  not  nom- 
inated. Bay  Area  Video  Coalition  does  the 
same  for  the  Video  award.  A  panel  of  jurors 
working  in  exhibition,  funding,  and  film  crit- 
ics/scholars selects  the  recipient. 

Name  some  of  the  best-known  titles 
and/or  artists  you  have  funded. 

Phelan  awards:  James  Brougton,  Yvonne 

Rainer,  Arthur  Dong,  Craig  Baldwin,  Curtis 

Choy,   Marv  Newland,  Steven  Okazaki, 

Michael  Wallin,  Pat  O'Neill,  Chick  Strand, 

and  Kenneth  Anger. 

FAF  Grants:  Chuck  Hudina  {Black  Heat), 

Susana  IVlunoz  and  Lourdes  Portillo  (Las  Madres 

de  Plaza  de  Mayo),  Deborah  Brubaker  (El  Camino 

de  los  Zapatos),  Rob  Epstein  and  Peter  Adair 

(Songs  for  the  Living),  Marlon  Riggs  (Tongues 

Untied),  Barbara  Hammer  (X-Rays),  Jay  Rosenblatt 

(The  Smell  of  Burning  Ants),   Doug  Wolens 

(Butterfly),  and  Chip  Lord  (Awakening  from  the 

21st  Century). 

You  have  one  deadline  for  all  your  grants. 
Explain  your  funding  cycle  and  deadlines. 

grants  (except  for  Phelan)  are  awarded  annual- 
ly in  June  with  the  call  for  entries  in  February  and 
an  April  deadline.  Recipients  are  required  to  file 
progress  and  final  reports  upon  completion  of  the 
project,  and  a  copy  of  the  work  for  FAF's  archives. 

Once  the  applicant  receives  funding,  are  there 
time  frame  restrictions  within  which  the  funds 
must  be  used?  How  soon  can  the  individual 
apply  for  funds  again? 

STAND  recipients  must  complete  their  projects  a 
year  after  funding,  and  can  only  use  the  award 
towards  materials/access  at  FAF.  If  an  individual 
receives  funding  in  any  category,  they  can  apply  for 
funding  the  year  after  next;  i.e.,  2000  recipients  are 
re-eligible  in  2002.  Completion/Distribution  grants 
must  make  up  the  remaining  money  needed  to 
complete  or  distribute  the  project.  Personal  Works 
money  must  be  solely  used  for  the  project  proposed 
and  all  its  phases  of  production. 

Who  are  the  Program  Officers? 
Gail  Silva,  Executive  Director,  Alicia  Schmidt. 
Development  Director,  and  Adnana  Rosas-Walsh, 
Grants  Coordinator. 

Who  makes  the  awards  decisions? 

Grants  panels  mainly  consist  of  past  recipients  and 


March   2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      47 


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film.  Not  another  editing  program,  FilrnLogic  is  an  application 
which  works  with  popular  digital  non-linear  video  editing  systems. 
Call  Focal  Point  Systems,  Inc.  in  the  USA  toll-free  at  877-209-7458 


11  Call  lor  Entries 


ISLAND 
FILWl    FESTIVAL 

18th  Annual  fill/Video  Festival 

Westhampton  Beach  Performing  Arts  Center 
May  3rd-6th,  2001 

Call    or   Write    for    Entry    Forms    (Due  4/1/01) 

Christopher  Cooke,  Director 

Long  Island  Film  Festival 

c/o  P.O.  Box   13243 

Hauppauge,  NY  11788 

1-800-762-4769  •  (631)  853-4800 

From   10:00am-6pm,  Mon-Fri 

or  visit  our  website  at  www.Iifilm.org 


programmers:  Bruce  Conner,  Louise  Lo,  Trinh  T. 
Minh-ha,  Irina  Leimbacher  (San  Francisco 
Cinematheque),  Cornelius  Moore  (California 
Newsreel),  Gustavo  Vazquez,  Nick  Katsapetses, 
and  Ellen  Bruno. 

Phelan  panel  (exhibitors/critics):  Peter  Scarlet 
(SF  Int'l  Film  Festival),  Jennifer  Morris  (SF  Int'l 
Lesbian  and  Gay  Film  Festival),  Linda  Blackaby  (SF 
Int'l  Asian  American  Film  Festival),  and  B.  Ruby 
Rich  (film  critic). 

Tell  us  about  the  review  process. 

The  written  applications  are  given  to  the  five-per- 
son panel  within  days  of  the  application  deadline. 
Two  to  three  weeks  later,  the  panel  meets  and 
selects  semi-finalists,  who  then  submit  sample 
reels.  The  recipients  are  selected  from  both  the 
written  application  and  sample  reel. 

What  advice  do  you  have  for  media  artists  in 
putting  forth  a  strong  application? 

Be  clear,  consistent,  and  stay  simple.  Be  sure  to  be 
realistic  about  the  budget-feasibility.  Stay  focused 
on  why  you  need  the  funding,  and  be  sincere  about 
your  need. 

What  is  the  most  common  mistake  applicants 
make? 

Not  following  guidelines.  Applicants  must  be  sure 
that  they  read  every  section  of  an  application.  You 
may  hurt  your  chances  because  of  a  simple  error 
that  could  have  been  avoided.  Remember,  always 
double — even  triple — check  your  application 
before  sending  it  out  to  a  funder. 

What  would  people  most  be  surprised  to  learn 
about  the  FAF  and/or  its  founders? 

That  FAF  was  brought  to  life  one  night  by  a  group  of 
avant-garde  and  documentary  filmmakers,  in 
someone's  San  Francisco  living  room  over  wine 
and  beer.  Twenty-five  years  later,  most  of  them  are 
still  members. 

Other  foundations  or  grantmaking  organiza- 
tions you  admire  and  why. 

Pacific  Pioneer  Fund  for  their  encouragement  of 
emerging  documentary  filmmakers;  Jerome 
Foundation  for  their  artist  fellowships;  Paul 
Robeson  Fund/Funding  Exchange  for  supporting 
social  change  media  and  funding  for  development 
and  distribution. 

What  distinguishes  the  FAF  from  other  funders? 

For  funding  personal  works;  putting  past  recipients 
on  the  panels;  funding  both  emerging  and  estab- 
lished makers. 

Famous  last  words: 

FAF  is  one  of  the  few  places  where  individuals  can 
receive  funding. 

Michelle  Coe  is  program  director  at  AIVF. 


48    THE    INDEPENDENT     March  2001 


by  Scott  Castle 

listings  do  not  constitute  an  endorsement, 
we  recommend  that  you  contact  the  festival 
directly  before  sending  cassettes,  as  details 
may  change  after  the  magazine  goes  to  press, 
deadline:  1st  of  the  month  two  months  prior 
to  cover  date  (april  1  for  june  issue).  include 
festival  dates,  categories,  prizes,  entry  fees, 
deadlines,  formats  &  contact  info.  send  to: 
scott@aivf.org 

Domestic 

chicago  underground  film  festival,  aug.  17-23, 

IL  Deadlines:  April  7  (early);  May  15  (final).  8th  install- 
ment of  Chicago's  premiere  independent  film  event.  Fest 
was  created  to  promote  films  &  videos  that  innovate  in 
form,  technique,  or  content  &  present  works  that  chal- 
lenge &  transcend  commercial  expectations.  Awards: 
cash  prizes  awarded  in  following  categories;  narrative 
feature,  narrative  short,  doc,  experimental,  animation, 
music  video,  audience  choice  &  "Made  in  Chicago." 
Formats:  35mm,  16mm,  super  8,  video.  Entry  fees:  $20 
(early);  $35  (final).  Contact:  CUFF,  3109  North  Western 
Ave.,  Chicago,  IL  60618;  (773)  327-3456;  fax:  327- 
3464;  info@cuff.org;  www.cuff.org 

CRESTED  BUTTE  REEL  FEST,  Aug.  8-12,  CO.  Deadlines: 
March  16  (animation,  experimental,  drama,  doc  &  com- 
edy); April  30  (student).  Competitive  short  film  fest 
seeks  to  nurture  a  growing  community  interest  in  film  as 
a  form  of  art  &  entertainment  through  exhibition,  discus- 
sion &  education.  All  films  must  be  under  40  min., 
except  docs  (under  60  min.).  Awards:  Gold  winners  in 
the  five  regular  cats  receive  $350;  Silver  winners,  $250; 
student  awards,  $200  (Gold)  &  $100  (Silver).  Formats: 
35mm,  Beta,  16mm,  3/4",  1/2".  Preview  on  VHS  (NTSC). 
Entry  fees:  $30  (student  w/  proof  of  status);  $35  (all 
other  cats).  Contact:  CBFF,  Jessica  Hunt,  exec,  dir.,  Box 
1733,  Crested  Butte,  CO  81224;  (970)  349-2600;  fax: 
349-1384;  cbreelfest@webcom.com;  www.crestebutte 
reelfest.com 

DAHLONEGA  INTERNATIONAL  FILM  FESTIVAL,  June 
28-July  1,  GA.  Deadlines:  March  31  (early);  April  30 
(final).  Fest  seeks  to  redefine  the  corrupted  term 
"Independent"  by  offering  underexposed  film  &  video 
makers  in  emerging  digital  formats  a  higher  profile  venue 
and  to  create  a  sense  of  motivation  within  a  close-knit 
international  community.  If  your  film  is  not  selected  by  the 
jury  for  a  big  screen  screening,  you  will  still  get  a  slot  on 
the  schedule  in  the  video  library.  Cats:  15  categories  (see 
web  site).  Formats:  35mm,  16mm,  super  8,  digital  video. 
Preview  on  VHS.  Entry  fees:  $15  (15  sec-3  min.);  $20  (3- 
15  min.);  $30  (15-30  min.);  $40  (30-60  min.);  $50  (over 
60  min.).  Contact:  DIFF,  543-B  Stokeswood  Ave.,  East 
Atlanta  Village,  GA  30316;  www.d-l-f-f.org 

DANCES  WITH  FILMS,  June,  CA.  Deadlines:  March  30 
(early);  April  27  (final).  Fest  promises  "No  politics.  No 
stars.  No  shit."  Fest  is  a  competitive  event  featuring  a 
line-up  of  a  dozen  feature-length  narrative  films  &  a 
dozen  narrative  shorts.  All  films  admitted  for  screening 
are  selected  using  only  one  major  criterion-,  they  must 
have  been  completed  w/out  any  known  director,  actors, 
producers,  or  monies  from  known  sources  (e.g.,  known 


production  companies).  Films  must  have  been  complet- 
ed by  Jan.  1,  1999.  Formats:  Beta  SR  digital,  16mm, 
35mm.  Preview  on  VHS.  Entry  fees:  early,  $50  (feature), 
$35  (short);  all  late  entries  are  $75.  Contact:  DWF,  1041 
N.  Formosa  Ave.  Pickford  Bldg.  Rm.  203,  West  Hollywood, 
CA  90046;  (323)  850-2929;  fax:  850-2928;  info@ 
danceswithfilms.com;  www.DancesWithFilms.com 

DA  VINCI  FILM  AND  VIDEO  FESTIVAL,  July  12-21,  OR 
Deadline:  March  20  (early);  April  20  (final).  Fest  is  look- 
ing for  original  works  not  exceeding  30  min.  in  length 
(docs  can  only  be  a  max  of  60  min.).  Submissions  of  any 
style  are  welcome:  animation,  narrative,  doc,  music 
video,  foreign,  etc  in  three  main  categories:  kinder- 
garten-high school,  college,  and  independent.  Awards: 
Juried  &  People's  Choice  Awards  given  in  each  cat. 
Formats:  film,  video,  digital.  Preview  on  VHS  (NTSC 
only).  Entry  fees:  college/indie  $15  (early),  $25  (final); 
K-12  $5  (early),  $15  (final).  Contact:  dVFVF,  Tina 
Hutchens,  fest  director,  Box  1536,  Corvallis,  OR  97339; 
(541)  745-6651;  fax:  754-7590;  davincifilm@buz- 
zlink.com;  www.davincidays.org/2001/film_video.html 

DENVER  INTERNATIONAL  EXPERIMENTAL  FILM  FESTI- 
VAL, June  7-14,  CO.  Deadline:  May  1.  Fest  accepting 
experimental  works  of  all  lengths  &  genres  produced 
anytime  in  the  last  100  years.  Formats:  35mm,  16mm, 
super  8,  digital  video,  S-VHS,  VHS.  Preview  on  VHS.  Entry 
fee:  $25.  Contact:  DIEFF,  Richard  Sanchez,  dir.,  4129 
Xavier  St.,  Denver,  CO  80212;  (313)  964-8601; 
DIEFilmFestival@aol.com 

DOCSIDE  FILM  FESTIVAL,  Aug.,  TX.  Deadlines:  March 
15  (early);  March  31  (final).  Fest  is  organized  by  the 
Documentary  Film  Project,  the  only  non-profit  documen- 
tary film  society  in  Texas.  Cats:  shorts,  features.  Awards: 
Best  Short  Doc,  Best  Feature  Doc,  Best  Experimental 
Doc,  Jury  Award  &  Audience  Award.  Foreign  entries  need 
to  have  subtitles  &  clearances.  Formats:  35mm, 16mm, 
VHS,  digital.  Preview  on  VHS.  Entry  fees:  $20  (early);  $30 
(final).  Contact:  DFF,  Documentary  Film  Project,  attm 
Lucila  Vasquez,  317  Lexington,  Ste.  #363,  San  Antonio, 
TX  78215;  (210)  532-4901;  dfproject@yahoo.com; 
www.docfilmproject.org 

DOMINIQUE  DUNNE  YOUNG  FILMMAKERS  VIDEO/FILM 
FESTIVAL,  May  12,  CO.  Deadline:  April  5.  30th  yr  of  int'l 
competition  open  to  any  student  currently  enrolled  in 
high  school  grades  9-12  or  college  freshman  entering  a 
film  produced  w/in  past  12  mos.  Entries  must  be  sole 
work  of  student  filmmaker  or  filmmakers,  w/  2/3  original 
content.  Awards  in  dramatic/narrative  (8-24  min.), 
experimental  (3-12  min.)  &  stop-action/computer  ani- 
mated. Awards  (one  per  cat;  6  total):  1st,  $100;  2nd, 
$75;  3rd,  $50.  Formats:  VHS.  Preview  on  VHS.  Entry  fee: 
$12  &  s.a.s.e.  Contact:  DDYFVFF,  David  Manley,  Fountain 
Valley  School  of  Colorado,  Colorado  Springs,  CO  80911; 
(719)  392-2657;  fax:  391-9039;  dunnefest@ftnval- 
ley.com;  www.fvs.edu/studlife/epdomini.html 

GOLDEN  SHOWER  VIDEO  FESTIVAL,  June  8-9,  TX. 
Deadline:  April  28.  Looking  for  features  and  shorts  out  of 
the  mainstream.  Prizes:  1st,  lowrider  bike;  2nd,  mini 
accordion;  3rd,  lucha  libre  gear.  Format:  VHS.  Preview  on 
VHS.  Entry  fee:  $10  cash  only,  no  checks  or  money  orders. 
All  selected  works  get  a  free  t-shirt.  An  official  entry  form 
must  accompany  all  entries;  avail,  for  download  from  web 
site.  Contact:  GSVF  Adam  Rocha,  8039  Callaghan  Rd. 


#611,  San  Antonio,  TX  78230;  tel/fax:  (512)  457-8780; 
voicemail:  (210)  885-5888;  www.safilm.com 

HOLLYWOOD  FILM  FESTIVAL,  Aug.  2-6,  CA.  Deadline: 
March  31. 5th  annual  fest  seeks  to  bridge  the  gap  between 
emerging  filmmakers  &  established  Hollywood.  Cats:  fea- 
ture, doc,  short,  animation.  Awards:  up  to  $100,000  in 
postproduction  services.  Winners  get  access  to  buyers, 
cash  &  VIP  passes.  Formats:  16mm,  35mm,  video. 
Preview  on  VHS.  Entry  fee:  $50.  Contact:  HFF,  Carlos  de 
Abreu,  433  N.  Camden  Dr.,  Ste.  600,  Beverly  Hills,  CA 
90210;  (310)  288-1882;  fax:  475-0193;  awards@holly 
woodawards.com;  www.hollywoodfestival.com 

HOT  SPRINGS  DOCUMENTARY  FILM  FESTIVAL,  Oct. 
12-21,  AR.  Deadlines:  March  28;  April  28  (late).  Annual 
fest  accepting  nonfiction  film  submissions  for  one  of  the 
country's  premier  nonfiction  film  celebrations. 
Noncompetitive  fest  honors  films  and  filmmakers  each 
year  in  beautiful  Hot  Springs  National  Park,  Arkansas. 
More  than  70  films  are  screened,  including  the  current 
year's  Academy  Award  nominees  in  nonfiction  cate- 
gories. Special  guest  scholars,  filmmakers  &  celebrities 
participate  in  forums  &  lectures.  Cats:  documentary, 
works-in-progress.  Formats:  35mm,  16mm,  VHS,  3/4". 
Preview  on  VHS.  Entry  fees:  $25;  $45  (late)  Contact: 
HSDFF  Melanie  Masino,  HSDFI,  Box  6450,  Hot  Springs, 
AR  79102;  (501)  321-4747;  fax:  321-0211;  hsdff@ 
docufilminst.org;  www.docufilminst.org 

LONG  ISLAND  FILM  FESTIVAL,  May  3-6,  June  &  Aug., 
NY.  Deadline:  April  15  (films);  June  1  (screenplays).  18th 
annual  competitive  fest,  screened  over  50  features  & 
shorts  last  year,  selected  from  entries  submitted  from 
around  the  world.  Cats:  arts  &  entertainment,  doc  & 
education,  and  student.  Awards:  1st  prizes  presented  in 
all  cats  (film  &  video),  w/  cash  awards  TBA.  Formats: 
35mm,  16mm,  3/4",  1/2",  DVD.  Preview  on  VHS.  Entry 
fees:  $25  (screenplays  &  films  up  to  15  min.);  $40  (15 
to  30  min.);  $60  (30-60  min.);  $75  (over  60  min.). 
Contact:  LIFE  Chris  Cooke,  Box  13243,  Hauppauge,  NY 
11788;  (800)  762-4796;  fax:  (631)  853-4888;  Suffolk 
film@yahoo.com;  www.lifilm.org 

MAINE  INTERNATIONAL  FILM  FESTIVAL,  July  6-15,  ME. 
Deadlines:  March  15  (early);  April  30  (final).  Fest  pri- 
marily seeks  features  shot  in  35mm  and  short  films  & 
videos  "shot  in  Maine  or  with  a  significant  Maint  focus." 
Formats:  35mm,  3/4",  VHS,  Beta  SR  Preview  on  VHS. 
Entry  fees:  $30  (early);  $40  (final).  Entry  form  avail,  on 
web  site.  Contact:  MIFF,  10  Railroad  Sq.,  Waterville,  ME 
04901;  (207)  861-8138;  fax:  872-5502;  info@miff.org; 
www.miff.org 

MARIN  COUNTY  NATIONAL  FESTIVAL  OF  SHORT 
FILMS,  July  2-6,  CA.  Deadlines:  March  16  (early);  April 
13  (final).  31st  annual  fest  runs  as  part  of  the  Marin  Co. 
Fair  w/  films  screening  daily.  Maximum  running  time  is 
30  min.  Film  submitted  must  have  been  completed  after 
Jan.  1,  1999.  Cats:  animation,  student,  independent, 
documentary,  experimental,  family.  Awards:  Up  to 
$2,400  in  awards  for  independent,  student,  and  animat- 
ed films  &  up  to  three  honorable  mention  ribbons  award- 
ed. Formats:  16mm.  Preview  on  VHS.  Entry  fees:  early, 
$20  (short),  $35  (foreign);  final,  $25  (short).  $40  (for- 
eign). Contact:  MCNFSF.  Mann  Co.  Fair,  10  Ave.  of  the 
Flags,  San  Rafael.  CA  94903;  (415)  499-6400;  fax:  499- 
3700;  cbarboni@marin.org 


March   2001     THE    INDEPENDENT      49 


5 


E) 


METHOD  FEST  INDEPENDENT  FILM  FESTIVAL,  June  16- 
23,  CA.  Deadline:  April  28.  Named  for  the  'Stanislavski 
Method,'  test  highlights  the  great  performances  of  inde- 
pendent film.  Seeking  story  driven  films  with  outstanding 
acting  performances.  Cats:  feature,  short.  Awards: 
Sculpted  statuettes  in  various  categories,  film  services  & 
5000  feet  of  Fuji  Motion  Picture  Film  to  winning  film. 
Awards  to  Best  Actor,  Actress,  Screenplay.  Formats: 
16mm,  35mm,  Beta  SP,  DV.  Preview  on  VHS.  Entry  fees: 
$35  (short);  $50  (feature).  Contact:  MFIFF,  Elaine  Wood  or 
Don  Franken,  Franken  Enterprises,  880  Apollo  St.  Ste.  337, 
El  Segundo,  CA  90245;  (310)  535-9230;  fax:  535-9128; 
Don@methodfest.com:  www.methodfest.com 

NANTUCKET  FILM  FESTIVAL,  June  20-24,  MA.  Dead- 
lines: April  14  (film);  March  16  (screenplay  competi- 
tion). Fest  focuses  on  screenwriters  &  their  craft,  pre- 
sents feature  films,  short  films,  docs,  staged  readings, 
Q&A  w/  filmmakers,  panel  discussions  &  the  Morning 
Coffee  With...  series.  Writers  are  encouraged  to  present 
their  films  &  works-in-progress  &  get  feedback  from 
other  screenwriters  &  filmmakers.  Cats:  Any  style  or 
genre.  Film  submissions:  entry  must  not  have  had  com- 
mercial distribution  or  U.S.  broadcast.  Screenplay  com- 
petition: entry  must  be  screenwriter's  original,  unpro- 
duced  work.  AwardsJony  Cox  Award  for  Screenwriting 
Competition,  Best  Writer/Director  Award,  Audience 


08901;  (732)  932-8482;  fax:  932-1935;  njmac@ 
aol.com;  www.rci.rutgers.edu/~nigrin 

NOMAD  VIDEOFILM  FESTIVAL,  June  tour,  WA,  OR,  CA. 
Deadline:  April  1.  Berkeley-based  fest  has  been  a  Pacific 
Coast  touring  venue  for  alternative  media  since  1992,  w/ 
stops  in  Port  Townsend  WA,  Seattle,  Portland,  San  Fran., 
Santa  Monica  &  others.  Fest  seeks  short  video/films  (15 
min.  max,  any  category)  expressing  audacity  &  strong 
visions.  No  theme  this  year;  short  docs  &  animation 
encouraged.  Awards:  No  cash  prizes,  selected  entries 
receive  written  audience  responses.  Works  can  originate 
in  any  video,  film  &/or  media  format.  Formats:  DV.  Preview 
on  VHS.  Entry  fee:  $15  (no  fee  for  int'l  entries).  Contact: 
NVF,  Box  7518,  Berkeley,  CA  94707;  (510)  464-4640; 
vpool@sirius.com;  www.verticalpool.com/vstuff.html 

OUTFEST:  THE  LOS  ANGELES  GAY  AND  LESBIAN  FILM 
FESTIVAL,  July  12-23,  CA.  Deadline:  March  31  (films); 
April  28  (screenplays).  Held  at  the  Directors  Guild  of 
America  &  nearby  venues,  fest  seeks  films  &  videos  about 
and/or  of  interest  to  gay  men,  lesbians,  bisexuals  &  trans- 
genders.  Seeking  narrative  features,  doc  features  &  shorts. 
Rough  cuts  &  works-in-progress  are  eligible  for  submission 
if  an  exhibition  print  or  tape  will  be  avail.  June  15,  2001. 
Cats:  feature,  doc,  short,  gay/lesbian,  animation,  experi- 
mental. Awards:  Twelve  awards  ranging  from  $500  to 


Nomadic  Existence 


Around  the  time  Nirvana  put 
Seattle  back  on  the  alternative  map 
in  1992,  Nomad  started  up  as  a 
bimonthly  screening  room  for  exper- 
imental media.  For  the  next  two 
years  the  fest  set  up  its  big  screen  video  monitor  and  sound  system,  every  other  month, 
at  a  different  Seattle  venue;  night  clubs,  restaurants,  art  galleries,  warehouses.  Then  in 
1995  it-was  reborn  as  the  Nomad  VideoFilm  Festival,  an  annual  Pacific  Coast  touring 
venue.  The  tour  visits  small  towns  and  big  cities  alike  (Port  Townsend  and  Seattle,  WA; 
Portland,  OR;  and  San  Francisco  and  Mendocino,  CA) ,  offering  a  wide  range  of  audi- 
ence feedback  by  asking  the  crowds  in  each  town  to  write  down  their  reactions  to  the 
work,  which  is  sent  straight  to  the  mediamakers.  See  Listing. 


Awards  for  Best  Feature  and  Short  Film.  Formats: 
35mm,  16mm.  Preview  on  VHS.  Entry  fees:  $40  (fea- 
tures); $25  (shorts.  35  mm.  or  less).  Contact:  NFF,  Jill 
Goode,  Artistic  Director,  Box  688,  Prince  St.  Station,  New 
York,  NY  10012;  (508)  325-6274;  ackfest@aol.com; 
www.nantucketfilmfestival.org 

NEW  JERSEY  INTERNATIONAL  FILM  FESTIVAL,  June  & 

July,  NJ.  Deadline:  April  6. 6th  annual  fest  showcases  the 
best  in  independent  film  &  video,  featuring  premiere 
screenings  of  award-winning  works,  seminars,  panels 
discussions  &  guest  appearances.  Max  film  age  is  24 
months,  no  repeat  entries.  Cats:  animation,  doc,  short, 
experimental,  feature.  Formats:  16mm,  35mm,  3/4", 
Beta  SP,  Hi-8,  digital.  Preview  on  VHS.  Entry  fees:  $35 
(up  to  20  min.);  $45  (between  20-50  min.);  $60  (over  50 
mm.).  Contact:  NJIFF,  Rutgers  Film  Co-op/NJMAC, 
Rutgers  Univ.  Program  in  Cinema  Studies,  131  George  St. 
(108  Ruth  Adams  Bldg./Douglass),  New  Brunswick,  NJ 


50     THE    INDEPENDENT     March  2001 


$2,000.  Formats:  35mm,  16mm,  3/4",  1/2".  Preview  on 
VHS.  Entry  fees:  $25  (features,  over  60  min.);  $10  (shorts, 
under  60  min.).  Contact:  Outfest,  1125  McCadden  PI.,  Ste. 
235,  Los  Angeles,  CA  90038;  (323)  960-9200;  fax:  960 
2397;  outfest@outfest.org;  www.outfest.org 

SAN  FRANCISCO  JEWISH  FILM  FESTIVAL,  July  19-Aug. 
5,  CA.  Deadline:  March  15.  Estab.  in  1980,  noncompeti- 
tive fest  showcases  new  independent  American  Jewish- 
subject  cinema  &  diverse  selection  of  foreign  films.  Fest 
presents  dramatic,  doc,  experimental  &  animated  shorts 
and  features  about  Jewish  history,  culture  &  identity. 
Filmmakers  need  not  be  Jewish;  films  selected  by  sub- 
ject. 35-40  films  showcased  each  yr.  Formats:  35mm, 
16mm,  Beta  SP  Preview  on  VHS.  Contact:  SFJFF,  Janis 
Plotkin,  Dir„  or  Sam  Ball,  Assoc.  Dir.,  346  9th  St..  San 
Francisco,  CA  94103;  (415)  621-0556;  fax:  (510)  548- 
0536;  jewishfilm@aol.com;  www.sfjff.org 


SAN  FRANCISCO  BLACK  FILM  FESTIVAL,  June  14-17, 
CA.  Deadline:  March  31.  Fest  celebrates  the  cinema  of 
African  America  &  the  African  cultural  Diaspora  and 
highlights  films  made  by  &  about  the  Black  Experience. 
Filmmakers  need  not  be  of  African  descent  &  films  can 
be  of  any  genre:  comedy,  horror,  romance,  etc.  Cats: 
feature,  short,  narrative,  doc.  Awards:  Melvin  Van 
Peebles  Maverick  Award  to  overall  winner;  Best  Feature, 
Best  Short,  Best  Doc,  Jury  Award  for  Best  Screenplay. 
Formats:  VHS,  Beta,  35mm.  Preview  on  VHS.  Entry  fees: 
$25  (films);  $35  (screenplay).  Contact:  SFBFF,  Box 
15490,  San  Francisco,  CA;  (877)  467-1735;  fax:  775- 
1332;  sfbff@hotmail.com;  www.sfbff.org 

U.S.  INTERNATIONAL  FILM  AND  VIDEO  FESTIVAL,  June 
7-8,  IL.  Deadline:  March  21.  Founded  in  1968,  this  is  the 
world's  leading  competition  devoted  exclusively  to  busi- 
ness, TV,  doc,  industrial,  informational  productions. 
Entries  are  grouped  w/in  71  categories  or  11  production 
techniques  where  they  are  judged  in  a  two-tiered  system. 
Productions  must  have  been  completed  during  the  18 
months  preceding  the  deadline.  Awards:  the  int'ly  known 
Gold  Camera  Award  &  Silver  Screen  Award  plaques  for 
top  productions,  certificates  &  special  industry-spon- 
sored awards.  Preview  on  VHS.  Entry  fees:  $150-$215. 
Contact:  UIFVF,  841  N.  Addison  Ave.,  Elmhurst,  IL  60126; 
(630)  834-7773;  834-5565;  filmfestinfo®  film- 
festawards.com;  www.filmfestawards.com 

VIDEOGRAPHER  AWARDS,  TX.  Deadline:  March  17. 
Event  is  an  awards  program  to  honor  talented  individu- 
als &  companies  in  the  video  production  industry. 
Awards  given  for  video  production  &  special  events 
video.  Cats  incl.  educational,  student,  special  events  & 
legal.  Formats:  VHS,  S-VHS,  Betacam,  Betacam  SP,  CD- 
ROM  (PC),  DVD.  Entry  fee:  $37.50.  Entry  forms  avail,  on 
web  site.  Contact:  VA,  2214  Michigan,  Ste.  E,  Arlington, 
TX  76013;  (817)  459-0448;  fax:  795-4949;  info@ 
videoawards.com;  www.videoawards.com 

Foreign 

ACAPULCO  BLACK  FILM  FESTIVAL,  June  4-9,  Mexico. 
Deadlines:  March  2  (features);  April  2  (shorts).  Fest  is  a 
celebration  of  the  cinematic  work  of  Black  filmmakers  & 
artists,  showcasing  independent  Black  cinema  from 
around  the  world.  Fest's  retreat-like  atmosphere  pro- 
vides an  intellectually  charged  environment  to  support 
independent  filmmaking  &  to  facilitate  networking 
among  Black  film  professionals.  Fest  offers  an  Actor's 
bootcamp,  panels,  live  entertainment  &  more.  Cats:  fea- 
ture, short,  works-in-progress.  Formats:  35mm,  Beta. 
Preview  on  VHS  (two  copies  req.  of  each  submission). 
Contact:  ABFF,  100  Ave.  of  the  Americas,  17th  fl.,  New 
York,  NY  10013;  (212)  219-7267;  925-3426; 
abff@uniworldgroup.com;  www.abff.com 

ALGARVE  INTERNATIONAL  FILM  FESTIVAL,  May  21-26. 
Portugal.  Deadline:  April  15.  Competitive,  shorts-only 
fest  seeks  works  under  30  min.  Cats:  doc,  animation,  fic- 
tion. Awards:  prizes  totaling  $20,000.  Formats:  35mm 
only.  Preview  on  VHS.  No  entry  fee.  Contact:  AIFF,  Carlos 
Manuel,  General  Dir.,  Box  8091,  Lisbon  Codex,  Portugal; 
Oil  351  21  851  36  15;  fax:  351  21  852  11 50;  algarve 
filmfest@mail.telpac.pt;  wwwalgarvefilmfest.com 

FUKOUKA  ASIAN  FILM  FESTIVAL,  July,  Japan.  Deadline: 
March  31.  Competitive  fest  accepts  feature  films  made 


CALL   FOR    ENTRIES 

6TH  ANNUAL  STONY  BROOK  FILM  FESTIVAL 

July  18-28,2001 

Staller  Center  for  the  Arts 

State  University  at  Stony  Brook,  Long  Island,  NY 


Competitions  in  1 6mm  and  35mm  films 
including  features,  shorts,  documentary 
and  animation.  Largest  venue  (1 ,000+  seats) 
and  film  screen  in  the  region  (40  ft.  wide)! 
Over  1 2,000  attendees  at  the  2000  Festival! 


2000  Stony  Brook  Film  Festival 
Filmaker  Reception  -  July  22,  2000. 
Left  to  right:  Village  Voice  Critic, 
Michael  Atkinson;  Newsday  Chief 
Film  Critic,  John  Anderson; 
"Steal  This  Movie"  director, 
Robert  Greenwald; 
Festival  Director,  Alan  Inkles. 


For  more  information,  call  631-632-7233 

or  email  festival@stallercenter.com 

Entry  forms  are  available  online  at 

stallercenter.com/festival 

or  write  to: 

Stony  Brook  Film  Festival 

Staller  Center  for  the  Arts 

rm  2032,  SUNY  Stony  Brook 

Stony  Brook,  NY  1 1 794-5425 

Entry  Deadline:  April  1,  2001 


2000  Stony  Brook  Film  Festival 
Opening  Night 


,1  SB 


2001  Stony  Brook 

Film  Festival 

July  18-28 
//       II       w 


2000  premieres,  below  from  left  to  right:  "Steal  This  Movie,"  "Wildflowers,"  "Last  Request,"  "Playing  Mona  Lisa, 


- 


i   w 


"...In  the  movie-crazed  town  of  Stony  Brook  on  the  campus  of  the  State  University  of  New  York,  they're  taking  a 
revolutionary   tack:    something    for   everybody.    Studio    Blockbusters.    Independents.    Short   films,    it's   visionary. 


It's  groundbreaking.  It's  cutting-edge.  It's  nostalgic. 


-  John  Anderson,  Newsday 


CHICAGO  (IMDEBCBulWD 


&is#  S^l^/  \S>S^ 


CALL  FOR  ENTRIES,  2001! 


RES  AND  FORMATS  ELIGIBLE  ph.7, 
AOLINE:  APRIL  7TH,  2001  SSSJJ 
I  DEADLINE:  MAY  15TH,  2001  1info@cuflorg 


Long  Island 
International 
Film  Expo  2001 

Seeks  Submissions  for  July  13-19  Film  Festival 


Short  and  Feature  Length  Films,  all  genres  considered. 

If  accepted,  ability  to  screen  in  16mm,  35mm  and  VHS  Video. 

Cut  off  date  May  14. 

*  GALA  AWARDS  CEREMONY  August  22  * 

For  application,  please  email  debfilm@aol.com, 
call  516-571-3168 

or  visit  our  websites:  www.LonglslandFilm.com  and 
www.Co.Nassau.NY.US/film/form2001.html 

The  Long  Island  International  Film  Expo  is  under  the  auspices  of 

the  Long  Island  Film  &TV  Foundation  and 

the  Nassau  County  Film  Commission 


by  Asian  or  Asian  American  directors  &/or  featuring 
Asian  subject  matter.  Cats:  feature,  short,  doc,  anima- 
tion. Awards:  non-cash  prizes.  Formats:  16mm,  35mm. 
Preview  on  VHS.  No  entry  fee.  Contact:  FAFF,  Shu  Maeda, 
Hirako  bldg.,  4th  fl.,  2-4-31,  Diamyo,  Fukukoa.  Japan 
810-0041;  Oil  81  92  733-0949;  fax:  81  92  733-0948; 
faff@gol.com;  www2.gol.com/users/faff/english.html 

SPLICE  THIS!,  June  23-25,  Canada.  Deadline:  March  31. 
Non-competitive  fest  dedicated  to  the  exhibition  of  small 
gauge  films,  showcasing  a  wide  range  of  work  by  first- 
time  filmmakers  and  seasoned  super-eighters.  All  entries 
must  be  shot  predominantly  on  super  8.  Formats:  super 
8,  silent  super  8,  super  8  w/  live  accompaniment,  super 
8  w/  sound,  super8  w/  audiocassette.  Preview  on  VHS. 
Entry  fee:  $5.  Contact:  ST!,  423  Shaw  St.,  Toronto, 
Ontario  M6J2X4;  (416)  537-2256;  coldsore® 
interlog.com;  www.interlog.com/~coldsore/ 

ST.  PETERSBURG  "MESSAGE  TO  MAN"  FESTIVAL,  June 
15-22,  Russia.  Deadline:  April  15.  Fest  is  a  unique 
opportunity  for  communication  between  filmmakers  from 
different  countries  who  develop  themes  of  justice,  good- 
will, "message  to  people,"  realizing  them  by  the  means 
of  cinema.  Fest  accepts  feature  doc  (up  to  120  min.), 
short  doc  (up  to  40  min.),  short  fiction  (up  to  60  min.), 
animated  films  (up  to  60  mm.).  Program  incl.  best  debut 
(1st  professional  as  well  as  student  films),  int'l  compe- 
tition &  special  programs.  Entries  must  have  been  com- 
pleted after  Jan.,  2000.  Awards:  Cash  awards.  Formats: 
35mm,  16mm.  Preview  on  VHS.  Entry  fee:  $35.  Contact 
in  U.S:  Anne  Borin,  c/o  Donnell  Media  Center,  10  W  53rd 
St.,  NY,  NY  10019;  (212)  586-6367;  fax:  586-6391;  in 
Russia:  Mikhail  Litviakov,  12  Karavannaya  191011,  St. 
Petersburg,  Russia ;  Oil  7  812  235  2660,  or  230  22  00; 
fax:  Oil  7  812  235  3995;  centaur@spb.cityline.ru 

VILA  DO  CONDE  INTERNATIONAL  SHORT  FILM  FESTI- 
VAL, July  6-11,  Portugal.  Deadline:  April  20.  9th  annual 
fest  accepting  films  under  40  min.  produced  in  2000  or 
2001.  Open  to  films  less  than  60  min.  If  film  has  dia- 
logue in  languages  other  than  English,  French,  Spanish 
or  Portugese  &  it  is  not  subtitled  in  any  of  these  lan- 
guages, include  translated  script.  Extracts  of  accepted 
films  may  be  broadcast  on  TV  channels  for  festival  pub- 
licity. Entry  form  avail,  on  web  site.  Cats:  short,  doc, 
animation.  Awards:  Grand  Prize  in  each  category  of  a 
trophy,  diploma  &  PTE  500.000  ($2,300);  Prize  of  the 
Audience,  trophy  &  PTE  300,000  ($1,500).  Formats: 
16mm,  35mm.  Preview  on  VHS.  Contact:  VDCISFF. 
Auditorio  Municipal,  Praca  da  Republica,  4480-715  Vila 
do  Conde,  Portugal;  Oil  351  2  52248469  or  Oil  351  2 
52248416;  fax:  Oil  351  2  52248416;  isffviladoconde 
@mail.telepac.pt;  www.curtasmetragens.pt/festival/ 

YAMAGATA  INTERNATIONAL  DOCUMENTARY  FILM  FES- 
TIVAL, Oct.  3-9.  Japan  Deadline:  March  31.  7th  biennial 
fest  looking  for  documentary  films  produced  w/in  two 
years  of  festival  date.  15  titles  in  Int'l  Competition,  plus 
five  or  six  sidebar  events  emphasizing  Asian  docs  & 
Asian  concerns.  Awards:  prize  money  totals  $45,000. 
Films  must  be  at  least  60  min.  in  length.  Formats:  film  & 
video.  Preview  on  VHS.  No  entry  fee.  Contact:  YIDFF,  2-3- 
25  Hatago-machi,  Yamagata-Shi  990-8540,  Japan;  Oil 
81  23  624  8368;  fax:  81  23  624  9618;  kokusai@ 
city.yamagata.yamagata.jp;  www.city.yamagata.yama 
gata.jp/yidff/ 


52    THE    INDEPENDENT     March  2001 


april  20-  28/200 


&0H 


www.laiff.com  ■  info@laiff.com  "submission  line  323.951.7090 


Get  tickets  to  the 

200 1  IFP/West  Los  Angeles  Film  Festival 

early  this  year  —  reserve  a  Festival  Pass!  Call  323/937-9 1 55 


.'  ■       ,:.:      ,         .        ■■•■■■ 


Individual  tickets  will  be  available  beginning  March  22nd. 
Visit  the  web  site:  www.lafilmfest.com 


t  ifp/west 

The  IFP/West  Los  Angeles  Independent  Film  Festival,  now  entering  its  seventh  year,  showcases  North  American 
feature-length  and  short  films  in  the  center  of  LA's  filmmaking  community. 


Q 


notices  of  relevance  to  aivf  members  are  listed 
free  of  charge  as  space  permits.  the 
independent  reserves  the  right  to  edit  for 
length  and  makes  no  guarantees  about  repeti- 
tions of  a  given  notice.  limit  submissions  to  60 
words  &  indicate  how  long  info  will  be  current, 
deadline:  1st  of  the  month,  two  months  prior  to 
cover  date  (e.g.,  april  1  for  june  issue).  complete 
contact  info  (name,  address  &  phone)  must 
accompany  all  notices.  send  to:  independent 
notices,  five  304  hudson  st.,  6th  fl,  ny,  ny  10013. 
we  try  to  be  as  current  as  possible,  but  double- 
check  before  submitting  tapes  or  applications. 

Competitions 

arizona  film  commission's  film  in  arizona 

SCREENWRITING  COMPETITION:  To  promote  screen- 
plays set  in  Arizona  to  Hollywood  creative  community. 
Nat'l  competition  for  original  feature-length  screenplays 
(90  min..  130  max.  pgs).  85%  of  screenplay's  locations 
must  be  authentic  Arizona.  Industry  standard  format 
req'd.  Entered  screenplays  may  not  have  been  previous- 
ly optioned,  sold  or  produced.  Other  rules  apply.  Rules  & 
applications  available  early  March  via  web  site,  email  or 
phone.  Awards:  $1,000  Cox  Communications  Award, 
industry  meetings,  professional  script  notes  &  other 
donated  prizes.  Entry  fee:  $15.  Deadline:  May  15.  Wendy 
Carroll,  Special  Projects  Coordinator,  "Film  In  Arizona" 
Screenwriting  Competition,  3800  N.  Central  Ave.,  Bldg.  D, 
Phoenix,  AZ  85012;  (602)  280-1380;  fax:  280-1384; 
film@azcommerce.com;  www.azcommerce.com 

AUSTIN  FILM  FESTIVAL  PRIME  TIME  COMPETITION: 

Call  for  entries.  Two  cats:  sitcom  &  drama  (based  on  a 
pre-existing  show).  Awards:  $1,500  for  each  category 
winner.  Airfare  compensation  up  to  $500,  hotel  compen- 
sation up  to  $500,  VIP  pass  to  Heart  of  Film 
Screenwriters  Conference  (October  11-18)  &  the  AFF 
bronze  typewriter  award  for  each  category  winner.  Entry 
fee:  $25.  Deadline:  March  15.  Contact:  (512)  478-4795. 

CALL  FOR  ENTRIES:  Flickapalooza  has  announced  a  call 
for  entries  for  the  Flickapalooza  Film  Festival,  held  in  Los 
Angeles  from  June  10-14.  Feature  and  short  films  from 
all  genres,  shot  on  35mm,  16mm,  digital  and  video, 
accepted  for  submission  until  April  2.  Festival  designed 
to  showcase  emerging  talent  by  presenting  films  that 
have  not  screened  elsewhere.  To  date:  Sponsored  by 
Creative  Planet,  iFilm,  LA411,  Filmport,  Laemmle's 
Theatres,  International  Film  Festival  Magazine, 
International  Documentary  Association,  IAM.com  and 
Reelmind.com.  Contact:  www.flickapalooza.com 

DOCTOBER  qualifies  feature  &  short  length  films  for 
Academy  Award  consideration.  All  films  entered  into 
IDA  Awards  competition  considered  for  invitation  to 
DOCtober,  as  long  as  they  meet  following  minimum 
requirements:  screening  format  must  exist  on  film 
(16mm  or  35mm);  no  broadcast,  or  other  television  air- 
ing anytime  prior  to,  nor  within  6  months  following  first 
day  of  festival;  only  individual  doc  films  eligible.  Early 
bird  deadline  w/  discount:  April  13.  Final  deadline:  May 
18.  Festival  programmers  will  invite  selected  films  that 
meet  these  requirements  by  August  15.  A  co-op  fee 
may  apply  for  festival  screening.  For  further  info 
regarding  DOCtober,  contact:  Melissa  Simon  Disharoon, 
Programs  &  Festival  Administrator  at  (213)  534-3600 


or  download  DOCtober/IDA  Awards  entry  form  www.doc 
umentary.org 

FLICKS  ON  66  "WILD  WEST  DIGITAL  SHOOTOUT:"  Ten- 
Minute  Scripts.  Accepting  12-page  scripts  for  production 
in  the  Flicks  on  66  festival.  Ten  finalists  come  to 
Albuquerque,  during  week  of  July  13-21  to  shoot,  edit  & 
screen  their  movie  while  competing  for  Palm  de  Grease. 
Award:  digital  video  camera  &  editing  equip.  Deadline: 
postmarked  April  1.  Entry  fee:  $35.  Appl.  info:  Flicks  on 
66,  Box  7038,  Albuquerque,  NM  87194;  fax:  (888)  837- 
9289;  info@flickson66.com;  www.FLICKSon66.com 

HOLLYWOOD  "FINAL  CUT"  SCRENPLAY  COMPETITION 

is  looking  for  quality  scripts  from  around  the  world. 
Character-driven,  feature-length,  standard  format 
scripts  accepted.  First  place:  $1,000  &  a  scene  shot  w/ 
professional  actors  &  crew.  Deadline:  Aug.  1.  Entry  fee: 
$45.  For  rules  &  submission  info,  contact:  GLAdams 
Enterprises,  1626  N.  Wilcox  Ave,  #382,  Hollywood,  CA 
90028;  www.finalcutcontest.com 

HOLLYWOOD'S  SYNOPSIS  WRITING  CONTEST:  To  give 
experience,  feedback  &  direction  as  to  whether  your  cur- 
rent synopsis  writing  would  make  an  agent,  producer,  or 
development  company  sit  up  &  take  notice.  May  enter  1- 
page  synopsis  of  screenplay  you've  already  written,  or 
screenplay  you  intend  to  write.  Judges  evaluate  synopses 
on  originality,  marketability  &  cleverness.  Each  contestant 
receives  personalized  commentary  on  merits  of  each  syn- 
opsis entered.  Winner  receives  free  copy  of  Final  Draft, 
plus  free  Script  Detail  of  screenplay  of  your  choice. 
Deadline:  last  day  of  every  month.  Only  on-line  entries 
accepted;  info@thesource.com.au;  www.thesource. 
com.au/hollywood/entry-form.html 

LAUGHING  HORSE  PRODUCTIONS  announces  3rd 
Annual  Screenplay  Contest.  Seeking  compelling  scripts 
of  every  genre — scripts  yet  to  receive  attention  they 
deserve.  Scripts  must  be  in  standard  screenplay  format 
&  have  copyright  or  be  registered  w/the  WGA.  Entry  & 
release  form  must  be  sent  w/  each  screenplay.  Entry  fee: 
$45.  Deadline.-  April  30.  Prizes:  1st,  Bert  Remsen 
Memorial  Scholarship  of  $1000  &  performed  readings  in 
Los  Angeles  &  Seattle;  2nd:  Bert  Remsen  Memorial 
Scholarship  of  $500.  For  more  info,  release  form,  or 
application,  visit:  www.geocities.com/lhprods 

MAUI  WRITERS  CONFERENCE  SCREENWRITING  COM- 
PETITION: To  highlight  quality  screenplays  that  may  not 
otherwise  get  discovered.  All  judges  are  Hollywood  pro- 
fessionals. Top  tier  judging  is  done  by  representatives  of 
some  of  the  top  studios,  production  companies,  agencies, 
networks  &  management  companies.  Contest  is  open  to 
any  feature  film  screenplay  that  hasn't  yet  been  optioned, 
sold  or  produced,  is  properly  bound,  and  correctly  format- 
ted. Awards:  1st,  $2500;  2nd,  $1000;  3rd,  $500.  Plus, 
each  prize  also  comes  with  a  fully  paid  admission  to  the 
2001  Maui  Writers  Conference.  Entry  fee:  $50.  Deadline: 
June  1.  Please  visit  our  website  for  further  details,  mauis- 
cript@aol.com;  www.mauiwriters.com 

NATIONAL  SCREENWRITING  COMPETITION:  To  find  the 
best  scripts  &  to  reward  screenwriters  for  outstanding 
writing.  All  scripts  entered  in  competition  will  be  evalu- 
ated based  upon  concept,  structure,  character,  cinemat- 
ic quality  &  superior  writing.  In  the  initial  round  of  com- 
petition, each  script  will  be  read  &  rated  by  one  reader. 
Scripts  that  qualify  based  upon  the  above  criteria  will  be 


read  by  the  entire  panel.  All  winning  entries  will  be  con- 
sidered for  their  possible  production  or  development  as 
feature  films.  Entry  fee:  $45.  Awards:  1st,  $2,500;  2nd, 
$500;  3rd,  $250.  Deadline:  May  31.  Seamus  OTionn- 
ghusa,  Director,  National  Screenwriting  Competition,  755 
Highway  34,  Matawan,  NJ  07747;  (732)  583-2138,  fax: 
566-7336;  director@skyweb.net;  www.national  screen- 
writing.com 

NEW  ENGLAND  SCREENWRITERS  CONFERENCE  seeks 

feature-length,  English  language,  original,  un-optioned 
screenplays  for  its  third  annual  competition.  Finalists 
invited  to  NESC,  receive  industry  introduction  &  $5,000 
in  cash  prizes.  Deadline:  July  8.  Send  s.a.s.e.  to:  Tom 
Dooley,  Screenwriting  Competition  Director,  Providence 
Film  Foundation,  Box  6705,  Providence,  Rl  02940;  (401) 
751-9300;  www.NEScreenwriters.com 

OHIO  INDEPENDENT  SCREENPLAY  AWARDS:  Call  for 

entries  for  Best  Screenplay  Award  &  Best  Northcoast 
Screenplay  Awards.  All  genres  accepted.  Prizes  incl. 
$1,000,  screenplay  reading  at  Ohio  Independent  Film 
Festival  in  Nov.,  submission  to  LA  literary  agent,  screen- 
writing  software  &  industry  script  analysis.  Early  entry 
fee  (postmarked  by  May  15):  $40  per  screenplay;  late 
entry  fee  (postmarked  by  June  1):  $60  per  screenplay. 
Contact:  OIFF  1121  Clark  Ave.,  Cleveland,  OH  44109; 
(216)  781-1755;  OhiolndieFilmFest@juno.com;  www. 
ohiofilms.com 

REELSHORTS  VIDEO  WORKSHOP:  Call  for  entries.  If 
you're  an  emerging  independent  filmmaker/videographer 
living  in  British  Columbia,  send  us  samples  of  your  work. 
Our  jury  will  choose  up  to  30  emerging  artists  from 
throughout  B.C.  to  work  with  professional  mentors  in  five- 
day  ReelShorts  program  at  B.C.  Festival  of  the  Arts  in 
Nelson,  May  26  to  June  3.  Eligibility:  B.C.  emerging  inde- 
pendent filmmakers/videographers  17  years  of  age  or 
older,  who  have  prior  experience  in  film  or  video  production 
&  who  have  completed  at  least  one  short.  Fee:  $10. 
payable  to:  B.C.  Festival  of  the  Arts.  Submission  guide- 
lines: Please  send  us:  Sample  of  your  work  (a  short 
film/video  up  to  20  min.  max.)  on  VHS  tape:  a  cover  sheet 
specifying  name,  address,  phone  number,  fax  number, 
email  address  &  age;  indicate  your  preference  for  drama  or 
documentary;  an  artist's  statement  (approx.  250  words) 
describing  your  artistic  vision  &  goals  in  film/video;  a 
resume,  including  film/video  experience  &  previous  train- 
ing; s.a.s.e.  for  notification.  Please  note:  videotapes  will 
not  be  returned.  Deadline:  April  7.  Registration  fee:  $125 
(upon  acceptance) — includes  lunches,  dinners,  work- 
shops, screenings,  panels  &  admission  to  most  test 
events.  Send  entries  to:  ReelShorts,  BC  Festival  of  the  Arts. 
200-764  Yates  St.,  Victoria,  B.C.  V8W  1L4;  (250)  920- 
4118;  fax:  356-0092;  info@bcfestivalofthearts.bc.ca; 
www.bcfestivalofthearts.bc.ca 

RHODE  ISLAND  INTERNATIONAL  FILM  FESTIVAL: 

Screenplay  competition  2001.  Created  to  recognize  cre- 
ativity, innovation  &  art  of  storytelling.  Scripts  must  not 
have  been  sold  or  optioned  prior  to  entry.  Entry  fee:  $30. 
Awards:  Grand,  $2,000  in  cash  &  prizes  plus  staged 
reading  of  work.  Deadline:  April  1.  Contact:  Eleyne 
Austen  Sharp,  Screenplay  Director,  Rhode  Island 
International  Film  Festival,  Box  162,  Newport,  Rl  02840; 
(401)  861-4445;  fax:  847-7590;  flicksart@aol.com; 
www.film-festival.org 


54    THE    INDEPENDENT     March  2001 


SCRIPTAPALOOZA  3RD  ANNUAL  SCREENWRITING 
COMPETITION.  Grand  prize  $25,000.  Deadlines  &  entry 
fees:  postmarked  Jan.  5,  $40  (early);  Mar.  5,  $45  (first 
deadline;  April  16,  $50  (late  entry).  Contact:  7775 
Sunset  Blvd.  PMB  #200,  Hollywood,  CA  90046;  (323) 
654-5809;  info@scriptapalooza.com 

SLAMDANCE    SCREENPLAY    COMPETITION    2001. 

Screenplays  must  not  have  been  previously  optioned, 
purchased,  or  produced  (see  entry  form  for  other  rules). 
12  recognized.  Prizes  include  cash,  software,  plus  sub- 
mission to  a  major  literary  agency  &  major  studio.  Entry 
fee:  $40-$50.  Deadline:  July  23.  Contact:  Larry  Hansen, 
Slamdance  Screenplay  Competition  Director,  (323)  466- 
1786;  fax:  466-1784;  lhansen@slamdance.com; 
www.slamdance.com 

TEXAS  FILM  INSTITUTE  SCREENPLAY  COMPETITION: 

To  promote,  develop  &  seek  production  of  new  talented 
screenwriters  within  the  studio  &  independent  film  mar- 
ket. Our  sponsors  expect  to  read  solid  dramatic  scripts 
from  winners  that  reflect  high  standards  of  writing  for 
which  we  are  known  in  the  industry.  Awards:  Cash,  pro- 
ducers one-on-one,  relevant  screenwriting  tools.  Entry 
fee:  $75  (with  notes);  $50  (without  notes).  Deadline: 
March  15.  Contact:  Jeff  Pettigrew,  Creative  Assistant,  TFI 
2000,  The  Ranch  of  Dos  Cerros,  409  Mountain  Spring, 
Boerne,  TX  78006;  (830)  537-5906;  537-5906;  99TFI@ 
texasfilminstitute.com;  www.texasfilminstitute.com 

THE  ANNUAL  IDA  AWARDS  COMPETITION:  Sponsored 
by  Eastman  Kodak,  IDA  Awards  recognize  &  honor  dis- 
tinguished achievement  in  nonfiction  film  &  video. 
Winners  honored  at  16th  Annual  Awards  Gala  on  Oct.  27. 
IDA  screens  winning  films  at  DocuFest  on  Oct.  28.  Early 
bird  deadline  w/ discount:  April  13.  Final  deadline:  May 
18.  Entry  forms:  International  Documentary  Association, 
1551  S.  Robertson,  Ste.  201,  Los  Angeles,  CA  90035; 
(310)  284-8422  x.  68;  idaawards@documentary.org; 
www.documentary.org 

UNIQUE  TV  COMPETITION:  To  discover  fresh  writing  tal- 
ent for  TV  &  cable.  Email  or  mail  s.a.s.e.  for  complete 
rules  &  entry  form.  Spec  scripts  in  any  genre  for  30  min., 
60  min.  or  2-hour  pilots.  Awards:  Winners  in  two  divi- 
sions each  receive  $500.  Entry  fee:  $45.  Deadline:  June 
1.  Contact:  Unique  Television  Competition,  PO.  Box 
22367,  Eagan,  MN  55122-0367;  info@uniquetelevi- 
sion.com;  www.uniquetelevision.com 

Films  •  Tapes  Wanted 

FILM  STUDENTS— CALL  FOR  ENTRIES:  Angelus 
Awards  Student  Film  Festival  accepting  submissions 
through  July  1.  Cash  prizes,  gifts,  Directors  Guild  screen- 
ings. Contact:  (800)  874-9999;  www.angelus.org 

INDUSTRIAL  TV:  cutting-edge  cable  access  show  looking 
for  experimental,  narrative,  humorous,  dramatic,  erotic, 
subversive,  animation  &  underground  works  for  inclusion 
in  fall  season.  Controversial,  uncensored  &  subversive 
material  encouraged.  Guaranteed  exposure  in  NYC  area. 
Contact:  Edmund  Varuolo,  c/o  2droogies  productions, 
Box  020206,  Staten  Island,  NY  10302;  www. 
2droogies.com 

INTERNATIONAL  EXPOSURE  FOR  SHORT  FILMS.  The 

Film  Channel  at  lndieplanet.com  is  seeking  short  films  to 
be  aired  on  web  site,  will  be  showing  new  shorts  each 


week,  giving  filmmakers  opportunity  to  get  work  shown. 
Contact:  Matt  (212)  691-0995;  matthew@indieplanet. 
com 

LOUISIANA  VIDEO  SHORTS  FESTIVAL:  Aug.  31 
Deadlines:  April  9  (early);  April  23  (final).  Fest  open  to 
all  Lousiana  residents.  Entries  can  be  just  about  any- 
thing your  heart  desires — experimental,  animation, 
music  video,  drama,  documentary,  public  service 
announcement,  whatever.  Entries  must  be  9  min.  or 
less,  produced  in  film,  video,  or  computer  animation  for- 
mat but  must  be  submitted  on  BetaSR  3/4",  S-VHS,  VHS 
or  Hi8/8mm  videotape.  There  is  also  a  youth  category  for 
high  school  age  entrants  between  the  ages  of  13  and  18. 
NOVAC,  4840  Banks  Street,  New  Orleans,  LA  70119; 
(504)  486-9192;  fax:  486-9229;  novac@neosoft.com; 
NOVACVideo@aol.com;  www.gnofn.org/~novac 

MICROCINEMA,   INC./BLACKCHAIR   PRODUCTIONS 

accepting  short  video,  film  &  digital  media  submissions 
of  30  min.  or  less  on  ongoing  basis  for  monthly  screen- 
ing program  Independent  Exposure.  Artists  will  be  paid 
an  honorarium  &  will  qualify  for  non-exclusive  distribu- 
tion deal,  including  additional  license  fees  for  int'l  offline 
&  online  sales.  Looking  for  short  experimental,  narrative, 
alternative,  avant-garde,  humorous,  dramatic,  erotic, 
subversive,  animation  &  underground  works.  Works 
selected  will,  in  most  cases,  continue  on  to  nat'l  and 
int'l  venues  for  additional 
screenings  &  may  qualify 
for  our  DVD/VHS  home 
video  compilations  as  well 
asnetcastingvia  microcin- 
ema.com.  Submit  VHS  or 
S-VHS  (NTSC  preferred) 
clearly  labeled  with  name, 
title,  length,  phone  number 
&  any  support  materials 
incl.  photos  to: 
Microcinema,  Inc..  2318 
Second  Ave.,  PMB  313-A, 
Seattle,  WA  98121. 
Info/details:  (206)  568- 
6051;  info@microcine 
ma.com;  www.microcine 
ma.com 


flicks  for  March  &  animation  for  April.  Film  (submitted 
on  VHS)  &  script  submissions  must  incl.  synopsis,  bio  & 
$10  (check/m.o.).  Films  screened  monthly  &  scripts 
staged  quarterly.  Contact:  (718)  670-3616;  www.igh 
multimedia.com 

SOUTHWEST  ALTERNATIVE  MEDIA  PROJECT  (SWAMP) 

looking  for  possible  inclusion  in  25th  season  of  The 
Territory,  the  longest-running  PBS  showcase  of  indepen- 
dent film/video  in  country.  Recent  works  under  30  min. 
in  all  genres  that  are  avail,  for  non-exclusive,  statewide 
(Texas)  broadcast  btwn.  Oct.  2000-Sept.  2001.  Send 
VHS  (NTSC)  copy  of  work,  brief  synopsis  &  filmmaker  bio 
to:  SWAMP,  1519  W  Main,  Houston,  TX  77006;  (713) 
522-8592;  swamp@swamp.org;  www.swamp.org 

THIRD  WORLD  NEWSREEL,  one  of  the  oldest  alternative 
media  organizations  in  U.S.,  seeking  film  &  video  sub- 
missions of  short  &  feature  length  docs,  narratives, 
experimental  &  other  works  attentive  to  intersections  of 
race,  class  &  gender.  Projects  that  address  other  issues 
of  political  &  social  interest  also  welcome.  Formats:  1/2" 
VHS  tapes.  Send  submissions,  synopsis  of  the  film  & 
director's  bio  to:  Third  World  Newsreel.  Attn:  Noel  Shaw. 
545  Eighth  Ave.,  New  York,  NY  10018;  (212)  947-9277; 
fax:  594-6417;  twn@twn.org;  www.twn.org 

WIGGED.NET,  a  bimonthly  webzine,  is  seeking  innova- 
tive &  experimental  new  media  works  as  well  as  anima- 


MEDIA  GRANTS  IN  NEW  YORK  STATE 

The  Experimental  Television  Center  provides  support  to  artists  working 
in  electronic  media  and  film  in  New  York  State.  Since  1989  the  center  has  awarded 
nearly  $600,000  to  various  media  organizations  and  artists.  It  offers  three  funds: 
Finishing  Funds  provides  up  to  $15,000  to  individual  artists  with  work  currently  in 
progress;  Presentation  Funds  are  presented  to  nonprofit  organizations  in  New  York 
state;  and  The  Media  Arts  Technical  Assistance 
Fund  is  intended  to  help  nonprofit  media  arts 
programs  in  New  York  state  stabilize,  strength- 
en or  restructure  their  media  arts  organization- 
al capacity,  services  and  activities.  The  program 
aims  to  encourage  events  that  create  an 
increasing  understanding  and  appreciation  of 
independent  media  work  in  all  areas  of  the 
state.  See  Listing. 


I  supported  Amy  Jenkins' 
Shelter  for  Daydreaming,  a 
two-channel  video  installation. 


MY  NAME  IS  CONSTANT;  I 

am  a  video  artist,  musician,  poet.  Since  1997  I  have 
been  producing  a  weekly  conceptual  video  art  program 
on  Time  Warner  (public  access  TV)  in  Manhattan  & 
Brooklyn,  entitled  Snacontt  Arts.  I  am  looking  for  work 
from  different  artists  to  show  on  the  program.  Contact: 
Box  050050,  Brooklyn,  NY  11205;  snacontt@aol.com 

QUEER  PUBLIC  ACCESS  TV  PRODUCERS  seek  public 
access  show  tapes  by/for/about  gay,  lesbian,  bi,  drag, 
trans  subjects,  for  inclusion  in  academic  press  book  on 
queer  community  programming.  All  program  genres  wel- 
come. Incl.  info  about  your  program's  history  &  distribu- 
tion. Send  VHS  tapes  to:  Eric  Freedman,  Asst.  Professor, 
Comm.  Dept.,  Florida  Atlantic  Univ..  777  Glades  Rd.,  Boca 
Raton,  FL  33431;  (561)  297-2534;  efreedma@fau.edu 

REEL  ALTERNATIVE  FILM  SALON,  Brooklyn's  original 
microcinema  featuring  indie  filmmakers  of  color,  seeks 
film  &  script  submissions  for  second  season.  All  genres 
&  formats  welcome.  Special  interest  in  female  action 


tion  &  videos  made 

for  web.  Deadline: 

ongoing.  For  details 

visit  'submit  media'  page  at  www.wigged.net.  Contact: 

Seth  Thompson,  (330)  375-0927; 

seththompson@wigged.net 

WYBE-TV  PHILADELPHIA  STORIES:  Looking  for  entries 
that  tell  a  story  as  unique  as  city  itself.  Series  will 
acquire  programs  already  produced,  providing  finishing 
funds  to  projects  &  actually  funding  a  few  key  original 
programs.  Call  for  entries  avail.  Feb.  25.  Deadline:  May 
15.  Download  call-for-entries  at:  www.wybe.org 

ZDTV  2ND  ANNUAL  CAM  FILM  FESTIVAL:  This  unique 
film  festival  allows  people  to  submit  their  own  short 
homemade  digital  movies  using  personal  equipment 
such  as  video  cameras  or  small  digital  web  cameras 
known  as  netcams.  Anyone  can  participate  &  may  sub- 
mit their  work  at  www.zdW.com/camfest.  Cats:  humor. 


March   2001     THE    INDEPENDENT      55 


G^iii) 


special  effects,  fiction,  doc,  ZDTV  network  promotions  & 
a  college  cinema  cat.  Deadline:  March  31. 

Publications 

FELIX,  A  journal  of  media  arts  &  communication.  Get  the 
new  issue  "Voyeurism,"  edited  by  Kathy  High  &  Maria 
Venuto  w/  guest  editors  Nayan  Shah,  Lisa  Steele  &  Kim 
Tomczak,  explores  complex  nature  of  topics  of 
voyeurism,  &  the  pleasures  &  risks  of  watching.  Cover 
price  only  $15.  Felix  is  published  by  The  Standby 
Program,  Inc.  Order  by  phone:  (212)  219-0951.  For  more 
info  &  back  issues:  www.standby.org 

INDEPENDENT  PRESS  ASSOCIATION:  Find  an  indepen- 
dent audience!  The  IPA's  new  directory  to  independent 
magazine  world  can  give  you  the  name  &  number  of  the 
editor  you  need.  For  just  $24.95  (plus  $3.05  S&H) 
Annotations.-  A  Guide  to  the  Independent  Press  can 
open  up  a  world  of  diverse  &  exciting  contacts.  For  order 
send  check  to:  IPA,  2390  Mission  St.,  #201,  San 
Francisco,  CA  94110;  (415)  634-4401;  www.indy- 
press.org 

INTERNATIONAL  FILM  FINANCING  CONFERENCE  (IFF- 
CON  2000)  transcripts  of  7th  conf.  avail.  IFFCON  is  North 
America's  premier  financing  event  for  independent  film. 
Topics  discussed  by  int'l  financiers,  commissioning  edi- 
tors &  producers  incl.  "Pitch  Perfect:  How  to  Sell  Your 
Idea"  &  "Financing  w/  Int'l  TV."  Send  $46  to:  IFFCON, 
360  Ritch  St.,  San  Francisco,  CA  94107;  (415)  281- 
9777;  www.iffcon.com 

THE  JOURNAL  OF  FILM  &  VIDEO  seeks  written  reviews 
of  University  Film  &  Video  Association  member  films  for 
possible  inclusion  in  journal.  Send  approx.  5  double- 
spaced  pages  to:  Temple  University,  Dept.  of  Film  & 
Media  Arts,  14E  Annenberg  Hall,  Philadelphia,  PA  19122; 
(215)  204-8472;  lerickson3@aol.com 


Resources  •  Funds 

8xlOGLOSSY.COM:  On-line  artists'  co-op  offers  free  list- 
ing for  all  actors,  technicians  &  organizations  in  direct- 
ory &  searchable  database,  free  email  address  (can  even 
be  forwarded  by  fax  or  letter),  free  use  of  bulletin  board, 
s.a.s.e.  to  Jim  Lawter,  37  Greenwich  Ave,  #1-6, 
Stamford,  CT  06902;  www.8xl0glossy.com 

911  MEDIA  ARTS  CENTER  offers  two  Artist  in  Residence 

grants  of  cash,  production  services,  and  supplies  to 
emerging  or  established  artists  working  with  new  media 
as  an  art  form.  The  residency  allows  artists  3  months 
equipment  &  facility  access  at  911,  followed  by  a  public 
exhibition  of  their  work  in  a  gallery  or  screening  venue. 
No  housing  assistance,  i.e.  artists  should  live  near 
Seattle.  AIR  program  is  project-based  &  supports  new 
media  installation  artists,  digital/web  artists,  and  innov- 
ative documentary  &  narrative  filmmakers  working  in 
digital  formats.  On-site  facilities  incl.  Final  Cut  Pro  edit- 
ing suite;  Avid  Media  Composer  8000  (on-line);  Pro  Tools 
suite;  digital  video  camera  &  light  kit;  digital  video  pro- 
jectors &  hands-on  animation  studio.  See 
www.911media.org/projects/residence  or  for  printed 
guidelines  send  s.a.s.e.  to;  911  Media  Arts,  Artist  in 
Residence,  1 17  Yale  Ave  N,  Seattle,  WA  98109.  Deadline:  j 
March  30. 


ALLIANCE  OF  CANADIAN  CINEMA  TELEVISION  AND 
RADIO  ARTISTS  (ACTRA)  announces  new,  innovative 
program  that  supports  low-budget  filmmaking.  Aims  to 
increase  volume  of  Canadian-made  films.  ACTRA  repre- 
sents over  16,000  film,  TV  and  commercial  performers 
across  Canada  and  wishes  to  bring  these  performers  to 
independent  film.  Contact:  Alex  Gill,  Communications 
Director,  (416)  928-2278  x.  208;  or  John  Wright,  Angus 
Reid  Group,  (416)  324-2900. 

BAVC  announces  Artist  Equipment  Access  Awards  call 
for  entries,  in  postproduction  grants  for  innovative  video 
or  new  media  projects.  Every  year,  BAVC  awards  multi- 
ple grants  of  $1,500  worth  of  access  to  BAVC's  postpro- 
duction facility.  BAVC  takes  special  interest  in  video 
artists  working  on  projects  in  association  with  commu- 
nity groups  or  about  community  issues.  Deadline:  May. 
1.  Contact:  Natasha  Perlis,  (415)  558-2119; 
www.bavc.org 

BAVC  JOB  RESOURCE  CENTER:  Funded  by  San 
Francisco  Mayor's  Office  of  Community  Development, 
the  Bay  Area  Video  Coalition  Job  Resource  Center  pro- 
vides S.F.  residents  w/  free  access  to  info  &  resources 
pertaining  to  video  &  new  media  industries.  Internet 
access  avail,  for  on-line  job  searches,  as  well  as 
industry  publications,  career  development  books  & 
job/internship  listings.  Open  Mon.-Fri.  12-5  p.m. 
Contact:  BAVC,  2727  Mariposa  St.,  2nd  fl„  San 
Francisco,  CA  94110;  (415)  861-3282;  bavc@ 
bavc.org;  www.bavc.org 

CA  CCH  MEDIA  PROGRAM  PLANNING  GRANTS  pro- 
vides up  to  $750  to  support  development  of  major  grant 
proposal  &  to  pay  for  background  research,  consulta- 
tions w/  humanities  scholars  &  community  reps,  travel 
&  similar  activities  necessary  to  develop  proposal. 
Before  applying,  consult  w/  CA  Council  for  Humanities 
staff.  Deadline:  Aug.  1.  Contact:  CCH,  312  Sutter  St.. 
Ste.  601,  San  Francisco,  CA  94108;  www.calhum.org 

CITIZEN  CINEMA,  INC.:  501(c)3,  nonprofit  arts  educa- 
tion organization  dedicated  to  promoting  art  of  filmmak- 
ing, is  planning  to  establish  filmmaking  workshops  in 
high  schools  &  looking  for  donations  of  used  16mm 
cameras,  sound,  lighting  &  editing  equipment,  computer 
notebooks  &  screenwriting  software  in  good  working 
order.  Donations  of  equipment  are  gratefully  accepted  & 
tax  deductible.  Contact:  Dan  Blanchfield,  Exec.  Director, 
(201)  444-9875. 

COMPOSER  CONTACT  ON-LINE  CATALOGUE:  Harvest- 
works  Digital  Media  Center  presents  interactive  data- 
base to  learn  more  about  composers  who  can  be  com- 
missioned to  write  &  record  compositions  for  various 
projects.  MP3  samples  &  biographical  info  can  be 
accessed.  Contact:  harvestw@dti.net;  www.harvest 
works.org 

EASTMAN  SCHOLARS  PROGRAM:  Colleges  &  Univs.  in 
U.S.  &  Canada  which  offer  a  BA/BS/BFA,  MA/MFA  in  film 
or  film  production  may  nominate  two  students  for 
$5,000  scholarships.  Deadline:  June  15.  For  nomination 
form,  write  to:  Int'l  Doc.  Association,  1551  S.  Robertson 
Blvd.,  Ste.  201,  Los  Angeles,  CA  90035. 

FREE  SOUNDTRACK  SONGS  if  you  credit  song  in  your 
film  credits.  Professionally  produced  &  mastered  CD 
with  22  punk,  rock,  alternative,  dance,  love  songs.  Call 


John  at  Road  Rash  Music  (ASCAP  publisher),  (703)  481- 
9113. 

FUND  FOR  JEWISH  DOCUMENTARY  FILMMAKING 

offers  grants  up  to  $50,000  for  production/completion  of 
original  films  &  videos  that  interpret  Jewish  history,  cul- 
ture &  identity  to  diverse  public  audiences.  Applicants 
must  be  U.S.  citizens  or  permanent  residents.  Priority 
given  to  works-in-progress  that  address  critical  issues, 
combine  artistry  &  intellectual  clarity,  can  be  completed 
within  1  year  of  award  &  have  broadcast  potential. 
Deadline:  April  5.  Contact:  Nat'l  Foundation  for  Jewish 
Culture,  330  7th  Ave.,  12th  fl.,  NY,  NY  10001;  (212)  629- 
0500  x.  205;  www.jewishculture.org 

GRANTS-IN-AID  avail,  to  qualified  candidate  to  attend 
47th  Robert  Flaherty  Film  Seminar  in  upstate  New  York 
from  June  15-22.  Awards  range  from  $200-$400 
towards  registration  fee  of  $700  (transportation  not 
incl.).  Deadline:  April  17.  For  more  info  &  appl.  contact 
L  Somi  Roy,  Exec.  Dir.  Int'l  Film  Seminars,  Inc.,  198 
Broadway,  Rm.  1206,  NY,  NY  10038;  (212)  608-3224; 
fax:  608-3242;  ifs@flahertysemmar.org;  www.flaherty 
seminar.org 

LlnCS  2001  (Local  Independents  Collaborating  w/ 
Stations),  a  funding  initiative  of  The  Independent 
Television  Service  (ITVS),  provides  incentive  or  matching 
moneys  ($10,000-$75.000)  for  partnerships  between 
public  television  stations.  &  independent  producers. 
Single  shows  &  interstitial  pkgs  will  be  considered,  as 
will  projects  in  any  genre  or  stage  of  development. 
Programs  should  stimulate  civic  discourse  &  break  tra- 
ditional molds  of  exploring  complex  cultural,  political, 
social  or  economic  issues.  Indie  film  &  videomakers  are 
encouraged  to  seek  partnerships  w/  their  local  public 
television  stations.  Deadline:  April  30.  Download  appl.  & 
guidelines  at  www.itvs.org;  Heidi_Schuster@itvs.org; 
(415)  356-8383  x.  230. 

MEDIA  GRANTS  AVAILABLE  TO  INDIVIDUALS  &  ORGA- 
NIZATIONS IN  NEW  YORK  STATE:  The  Experimental 
Television  Center  provides  support  to  electronic  media  & 
film  artists  &  organizations  in  New  York  state.  We  provide 
finishing  funds  of  up  to  $1,500.  All  cats.  Applicants  must 
be  residents  of  New  York  state.  Deadline:  March  15.  We 
provide  presentation  funds  to  nonprofit  organizations  in 
New  York.  Deadline:  ongoing.  The  Media  Arts  Technical 
Assistance  Fund  is  designed  to  help  non  profit  media 
arts  programs  in  New  York  State.  Up  to  $2,000  per  pro- 
ject. Organizations  must  be  receiving  support  from  New 
York  State  Council  of  the  Arts  Electronic  Media  &  Film 
Program.  Deadlines:  April  1,  July  1  &  Oct.  1.  For  all  funds 
contact:  Sherry  Miller  Hocking,  Experimental  Television 
Center,  109  Lower  Fairfield  Rd.,  Newark  Valley,  NY 
13811;  (607)  687-4341;  etc@experimentaltvcenter. 
org;  www.experimentaltvcenter.org 

NATIONAL   ENDOWMENT   FOR   THE   HUMANTIES: 

Summer  seminars  &  institutes  tor  college  &  university 
teachers.  Seminars  incl.  15  participants  working  in  col- 
laboration w/ 1  or  2  leading  scholars.  Institutes  provide 
intensive  collaborative  study  of  texts,  historical  periods 
&  ideas  to  undergrad  teaching  in  the  humanities. 
Detailed  info  &  appl.  materials  are  avail,  from  project 
directors.  Contact:  (202)  606-8463;  sem-inst@neh. 
gov;  www.neh.gov 

NEW  DAY  FILMS:  premier  distribution  cooperative  for 


56    THE    INDEPENDENT     March  2001 


1 


THE  ASSOCIATION  OF  I 
VIDEO  AND   FILM] 


About  AIVF  and  FIVF 

Offering  support  for  individuals  and 
advocacy  for  the  media  arts  field 
The  Association  of  Independent  Video 
and  Filmmakers  (AIVF)  is  a  national 
membership  organization  of  over 
5,000  diverse,  committed  opinionated 
and  fiercely  independent  film-  and 
videomakers.  ATVF  partners  with  the 
Foundation  for  Independent  Video 
and  Film  (FIVF),  a  501(c)(3)  nonprofit 
offering  a  broad  slate  of  education 
and  information  programs. 

To  succeed  as  an  independent  you 
need  a  wealth  of  resources,  strong 
connections,  and  the  best  information 
available.  Whether  through  the  pages 
of  our  magazine,  The  Independent 
Film  &  Video  Monthly,  our  expanded 
website,  or  through  the  organization 
raising  its  collective  voice  to 
advocate  for  important  issues,  AIVF 
preserves  your  independence  while 
reminding  you  you're  not  alone. 

Here's  what  AIVF 
membership  offers: 

^jJiJbP^jJlI^jjJ 

J  J  FILM  &  VIDEO  MONTHLY 

"We  Love  This  Magazine!!" 
-UTNE  Reader- 
Membership  provides  you  with  a 
year's  subscription  to  The  Independent 
Thought-provoking  features,  profiles, 
news,  and  regular  columns  on 
business,  technical  and  legal  matters. 
Plus  the  field's  best  source  of 
festival   listings,   funding   deadlines, 


exhibition  venues,  and  announcements 
of  member  activities  and  services. 
Special  issues  highlight  subjects 
including  experimental  media,  new 
technologies,  regional  activity,  and 
non-fiction  work.  Business  and  non- 
profit members  receive  discounts  on 
advertising  as  well  as  special 
mention  in  each  issue. 

INFORMATION 

FIVF  publishes  a  series  of  practical 
resource  books  on  international 
festivals,  distribution,  and  exhibition 
venues,  offered  at  discount  prices  to 
members  (see  the  other  part  of  this 
insert  for  a  list). 

Our  New  York  City  Filmmaker 
Resource  Library  houses  up-to-date 
information  on  everything  from  job 
listings  to  sample  contracts,  tailored 
to  the  needs  of  the  independent 
producer.  We  also  provide  referrals, 
answering  hundreds  of  calls  and 
e-mails  each  week! 

WWW.AIVF.ORS 

Stay  connected  through  www.aivf.org 
featuring  the  lowdown  on  ATVF 
services,  resource  listings  and  links, 
web-original  articles,  advocacy 
information,  and  discussion  areas. 
Special  on-line  services  for  members 
include  distributor  and  funder 
profiles  and  archives  of  The 
Independent  -  much  more  to  come! 

INSURANCE 

Members  are  eligible  to  purchase 
group  insurance  plans  through  AIVF 
suppliers,  including  health  insurance 
and  production  plans  tailored  to  the 
needs  of  low-budget  mediamakers. 


[DEPENDENT 
AKERS 

TRADE  DISCOUNTS 

Businesses  across  the  country  offer 
AIVF  members  discounts  on  equipment 
and  auto  rentals,  stock  and  expendibles, 
film  processing,  transfers,  editing, 
shipping,  and  other  production 
necessities.  Members  also  receive 
discounts  on  purchases  of  the  AIVF 
mailing  list  and  classified  ads  in  The 
Independent. 

WORKSHOPS  &■  EVENTS 

Special  events  covering  the  whole 
spectrum  of  current  issues  and 
concerns  affecting  the  field,  ranging 
from  business  and  aesthetic  to 
technical  and  political  topics. 

COMMUNITY 

AIVF  Regional  Salons  are  based  in 
cities  across  the  country.  These 
member-organized  member-run  get- 
togethers  provide  a  unique 
opportunity  to  network  exhibit,  and 
advocate  for  independent  media  in 
local  communities.  To  find  the  salon 
nearest  you,  check  The  Independent 
or  visit  the  Regional  Salon  section  of 
the  AIVF  website. 

ADVOCACY 

Since  AIVF  members  first  gathered 
over  25  years  ago,  AIVF  has  been 
consistently  outspoken  in  its  efforts 
to  preserve  the  resources  and  rights 

I  of  independent  mediamakers,  as  well 
as  to  keep  the  public  abreast  of  the 
latest  issues  concerning  our  field. 
Members  receive  periodic  advocacy 
alerts,  information  on  current  issues 
and  public  policy,  and  the 
opportunity  to  add  their  voice  to 
collective  actions. 


T 


MEMBERSHIP  CATEGORIES 

INDIVIDUAL/STUDENT  MEMBERSHIP 

Includes:  one  year's  subscription  to  The  Independent  •  access  to  group  insurance  plans  •  discounts 
on  goods  and  services  from  national  Trade  Partners  •  online  and  over-the-phone  information  services 
•  discounted  admission  to  seminars,  screenings,  and  events  •  book  discounts  •  classifieds  discounts  • 
advocacy  action  alerts  •  eligibility  to  vote  and  run  for  board  of  directors  •  members-only  web  services. 

DUAL  MEMBERSHIP 

All  of  the  above  benefits  extended  to  two  members  of  the  same  household  except  for  the  year's 

subscription  to  The  Independent  which  is  shared  by  both 

BUSINESS  &  INDUSTRY/SCHOOL/NON-PROFIT  MEMBERSHIP 

All  the  above  benefits  (except  access  to  insurance  plans)  •  option  to  request  up  to  3  one-year 
subscriptions  to  The  Independent  •  representative  may  vote  and  run  for  board  of  directors  • 
discounts  on  display  advertising  •  special  mention  in  each  issue  of  The  Independent 

LIBRARY  SUBSCRIPTION  JOIN  AIVF  TOPAY! 

Year's  subscription  to  The  Independent  for  multiple  readers. 

Contact  your  subscription  service  to  order  or  call  AIVF  at  (212)  807-1400  xSOl. 


MEMBERSHIP  RATES  MAHJN6  RATES 

Individual  □  $55/1  yr.  □  $100/2  yrs.         Magazines  are  mailed  second-class  in  the  U.S. 

Dual  D  $95/1  yr.  □  $150/2  yrs.         □  First-class  U.S.  mailing  -  add  $30 

Student  D  $35/1  yr.  (enclose  copy  of  current  student  id)  D  Canada  -  add  $15 

Business  &■  Industry  □  $150/1  yr.     □  Mexico  -  add  $20 

School  &■  Non-profit  □  $100/1  yr.     □  All  other  countries  -  add  $45 


FOR  LIBRARY  SUBSCRIPTIONS 

Please  contact  your  current  subscription  service, 

or  call  AIVF  at  (212)  507-1400  xSOl. 

Name 

For  Dual:  2nd  name 

Organization 

Address 

City 


*  Your  additional,  tax-deductible  contribution  will  help 
support  the  educational  programs  of  the  Foundation  for 
Independent  Video  and  Film  a  public  501(c)(3)  organization 


\ 


State 


ZIP 


Weekday  tel. 
Email 


Country 
fax 


Membership  cost 

Mailing  costs  (if  applicable) 

Additional  tax-deductible  contribution  to  FIV 

Total  amount  enclosed  (check  or  money  ordei 

D  I've  enclosed  a  check  or  MO  payable  to  AIVF 

Please  bill  my   Q  Visa      d  Mastercard      Q  AmX 

Acct  # 

Exp.  date:        /        / 

Signature 


Mail  to  AIVF,  304  Hudson  St,  6th  fl  New  York  NY  10013;  or  charge  by  phone  (212)  £07-1400  x  503,  by  fax 
(212)  463-8519,  or  via  our  website  www.aivf.org.  Your  first  issue  of  The  Independent  will  arrive  in  4-6  weeks. 


social  issue  media,  seeks  energetic  independent  film  & 
videomakers  w/  challenging  social  issue  docs  for  distri- 
bution to  non-theatrical  markets.  Now  accepting  appl. 
for  new  membership.  Contact:  New  Day  Films,  22D 
Hollywood  Ave.,  Ho-Ho-Kus,  NJ  07423;  (415)  332-7172; 
www.newday.com 

NEWENGLANDFILM.COM  is  a  unique  online  resource 
that  provides  local  film  &  video  professionals  w/  search- 
able industry  directory,  listings  of  local  events,  screen- 
ings, jobs,  calls  for  entries  &  upcoming  productions,  in 
addition  to  filmmaker  interviews  &  industry  news. 
Reaching  over  1 1,000  visitors  each  month.  All  articles  & 
listings  on  sites  free  to  read:  www.nefilm.com 

NEWPROJECT.NET  provides  a  new  vehicle  for  producers 
in  search  of  partnerships,  financing  &  distribution  for 
projects.  Online  database  of  presentations  of  projects  in 
development,  in  production,  or  recently  completed, 
NewProject.net  is  a  place  where  professionals  can  "pub- 
lish" &  announce  their  copyrighted  new  projects  &  pre- 
sent them  to  programming  execs,  distribution  compa- 
nies, potential  underwriters,  investors  &  other  partners. 

NEXT  WAVE  FILMS,  funded  by  the  Independent  Film 
Channel,  was  established  to  provide  finishing  funds  & 
other  vital  support  to  emerging  filmmakers  with  low- 
budget,  English-language  features  from  US  &  abroad. 
Selected  films  receive  assistance  with  postproduction, 
implementing  a  festival  strategy  &  securing  distribution. 
Through  Agenda  2000 — Next  Wave  Films'  production 
arm — exceptionally  talented  filmmakers  with  an  estab- 
lished body  of  work  can  receive  production  financing  and 
assistance  for  features  shot  on  digital  video  &  intended 
for  theatrical  release.  Both  fiction  &  non-fiction  films 
considered  for  finishing  funds  &  Agenda  2000.  Contact: 
Next  Wave  Films,  2510  7th  St.,  Ste.  E,  Santa  Monica,  CA 
90405.  (310)  392-1720;  fax:  399-3455;  launch® 
nextwavefilms.com;  www.nextwavefilms.com. 

OPPENHEIMER  CAMERA:  new  filmmaker  grant  equip, 
program  offers  access  to  professional  16mm  camera 
system  for  first  serious  new  productions  in  dramatic, 
doc,  experimental,  or  narrative  form.  Purely  commercial 
projects  not  considered.  Provides  camera  on  year-round 
basis.  No  appl.  deadline,  but  allow  10  week  minimum  for 
processing.  Contact:  Film  Grant,  Oppenheimer  Camera, 
666  S.  Plummer  St.,  Seattle,  WA  98134;  (206)  467- 
8666;  fax:  467-9165;  filmgrant@oppenheimercamera. 
com 

PACIFIC  ISLANDERS  IN  COMMUNICATIONS  (PIC) 

announces  Media  Fund  2000  call  for  proposals  for  pro- 
grams intended  for  nat'l  public  television.  Doc,  perfor- 
mance, narrative,  animation,  children's  or  cultural 
affairs  programming  proposals  eligible.  PIC  is  particular- 
ly interested  in  projects  that  examine  &  illuminate  the 
realities  of  Pacific  Islander  issues  such  as  diversity, 
identity,  &  spirituality.  Must  be  over  60  mm.  unless  part 
of  a  series.  Awards  of  up  to  $50,000  are  available  for 
works-in-progress  including  production,  postproduction, 
marketing  &  distribution.  Research  &  development  & 
scripting  phases  may  receive  up  to  $15,000.  Deadline: 
Aug.  3.  Contact  Annie  Moriyasu,  Media  Fund,  to  PIC, 
1221  Kapi'olani  Boulevard,  Ste.  6A-4,  Honolulu,  HI 
96814,  (808)  591-0059;  fax:  591-1114;  moriyasu® 
aloha.net;  www.piccom.org 

PAUL  ROBESON  FUND  FOR  INDEPENDENT  MEDIA 


solicits  projects  addressing  critical  social  &  political 
issues  w/  goal  of  creating  social  change.  Funding  for 
radio  projects  in  all  stages  of  prod.;  film  &  video  projects 
in  preproduction  or  distribution  stages  only.  Grants  range 
from  $3,000-$8,000.  Deadline:  May  15.  Contact:  Trinh 
Duong,  Program  Officer,  The  Funding  Exchange,  666 
Broadway,  #500,  NY,  NY  10012;  (212)  529-5300. 

PEN  WRITER'S  FUND  &  PEN  FUND  for  writers  &  editors 
w/  AIDS.  Emergency  funds,  in  form  of  small  grants  given 
each  year  to  over  200  professional  literary  writers,  incl. 
screenwriters,  facing  financial  crisis.  PEN'S  emergency 
funds  are  not  intended  to  subsidize  writing  projects  or 
professional  development.  Contact:  PEN  American 
Center,  568  Broadway,  New  York,  NY  10012-3225;  (212) 
334-1660. 

PORTLAND,  OREGON  FILMMAKING  GRANTS;  Digital 
Media  Education  Center  of  Portland,  Oregon  announcing 
open  call  for  submissions  for  their  prestigious  Avid  Film 
Camp  2000  program.  The  5-year-old  program  affords  a 
boost  to  independent  feature  directors  looking  for  means 
to  complete  films,  while  offering  Avid-authorized  training 
|  to  career  editors.  Film  Camp  films  have  gone  on  to  such 
venues  as  Sundance,  South  by  Southwest,  &  the  IFP 
Market.  Submissions  for  consideration  must  be  feature- 
length  projects  w/  shooting  completed.  Projects  are 
accepted  on  rolling  basis.  Contact:  Kate  Wolf  at  Digital 
Media  Education  Center,  5201  SW  Westgate  Dr.,  Ste. 
114,  Portland,  OR  97221;  (503)  297-2324;  www.film- 
camp.com 

TECHNOLOGY-RELATED  FUNDING  &  TECHNICAL 
ASSISTANCE:  New  York  State  Council  on  the  Arts  &  New 
York  Foundation  for  the  Arts  announces  funding  for  wide 
range  of  planning  initiatives  that  develop  new  venues  for 
digital  art;  touring  projects;  establish  artist  residencies 
in  partnerships  with  facilities  that  have  computer  labs; 
expand  training  &  access  opportunities  for  artists;  pro- 
grams to  help  arts  organizations  advance  the  use  of 
technology  in  administration  &  outreach.  Deadline:  May 
3.  Contact:  NYSCA,  915  Broadway,  New  York,  NY  10010- 
7199;  (212)  387-7000;  fax:  387-7164. 

U.S.-MEXICO  FUND  FOR  CULTURE,  sponsored/funded 
by  Mexico's  Nat'l  Fund  for  Culture  &  the  Arts  (FONCA), 
Bancomer  Cultural  Foundation  &  the  Rockefeller 
Foundation  announces  bi-national  artist  proposals. 
Deadline:  April  16.  Contact:  Beatriz  Nava,  U.S.-Mexico 
Fund  For  Culture,  Londres  16,  3rd  Fl.,  Col.  Juarez, 
06600,  Mexico  D.F;  (525)  592-5386;  fax:  566-8071; 
usmexcult@fidemexusa.org.mx;  www.fideicomisom 
exusa.org.mx 

VISUAL  STUDIES  WORKSHOP  MEDIA  CENTER  in 

Rochester,  NY,  accepts  proposals  on  ongoing  basis  for  its 
Upstate  Media  Regrant  Program.  Artists,  ind.  producers 
&  nonprofits  awarded  access  at  reduced  rates,  prod.  & 
postprod.  equipment  for  work  on  noncommercial  pro- 
jects. For  appl.,  tour,  or  more  info,  call  (716)  442-8676. 
Deadline:  May  22. 


WORKSHOPS 

VOLUNTEER  LAWYERS  FOR  THE  ARTS  offer  seminars 
on  "Copyright  Basics,"  "Nonprofit  Incorporation  &  Tax 
Exemption"  &  more.  Reservations  must  be  made. 
Contact:  (212)  319-2910. 


Final  Cut  Pro 

Nonlinear  Editing 

Beta  SP,  DV,  DVCAM, 
Hi&,  3/4",  S-VHS 


1123  Broadway,  Suite  S14 
New  York,    New  York  WOW 

www.ear-thvideo.net, 

212-223-4254 


Everything 
included. 

Avid  Media 

Composer  Off-line 

at  rates  the  artist 

can  afford. 
Manhattan  suite. 


kitchen 


Y     N 


Tel:  (516)  810-7238  •  Fax  (516)  421-6923 


March   2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      57 


G 


ri  f  ,  :     - j  '-!> 


S) 


DEADLINE:  1ST  OF  EACH  MONTH,  2  MONTHS  PRIOR  TO 
COVER  DATE  (E.G.  APRIL  1  FOR  JUNE  ISSUE).  CONTACT: 
FAX:  (212)  463-8519;  scott@aivf.org.  PER  ISSUE  COST: 

0-240  characters  (incl.  spaces  &  punctuation) 
$45  FOR  NONMEMBERS/$30  FOR  AIVF  MEMBERS 

241-360  CHARACTERS: 
$65  FOR  N0NMEMBERS/$45  FOR  AIVF  MEMBERS 

361-480  CHARACTERS: 
$80  FOR  NONMEMBERS/$60  FOR  AIVF  MEMBERS 

481-600  CHARACTERS: 
$95  FOR  NONMEMBERS/$75  FOR  AIVF  MEMBERS 

OVER  600  CHARACTERS: 
CALL  FOR  QUOTE:  212-807-1400  x.  229 

Frequency  discount: 

$5  off  per  issue  for  ads  running  5+  times. 

ads  over  specified  length  will  be  edited.  copy 
should  be  typed  &  accompanied  by  check  or 
money  order  payable  to:  fivf,  304  hudson  st., 
6th  fl,  new  york,  ny  10013.  include  billing 
address;  daytime  phone;  #  of  issues;  and  valid 
member  id#  for  member  discount.  to  pay  by  visa 
/mc/amex  incl.  card  #;  name  on  card;  exp  date. 

Buy  •  Rent  •  Sell 

AVID  OFF-LINE  FOR  RENT:  MC  7.1,  Powermac  9600, 33 
gigs  memory,  two  20"  Mitsubishi  monitors,  14"  Trinitron 
monitor,  16  Ch  Mackie  mixer.  Avid  tech  support.  Free  set 
up  in  NYC  area.  Call  Howard  (914)  271-4161. 

DP  W/  CANON  XL-1;  BETA-SP  DECK  RENTAL  avail,  I 
shoot  all  formats:  film/video.  Non-linear  editing  w/  all 
video  formats.  13  yrs  exp  w/  Academy  Award  nomina- 
tion. Affordable  rates.  DMP  Productions  (212)  307-9097; 
http://members.tripod.com/~dmpfilm 

VIDEO  DECKS/EDIT  SYSTEMS/CAMERAS  FOR  RENT:  I 

deliver!  Beta-SP  deck  (Sony  UVW-1800)  $150/day, 
$450/wk.  Also— 1:1  Avid  Suite,  Final  Cut,  Media  100,  DV 
Cams,  mics,  lights,  etc.  Production  Central  (212)  631- 
0435. 

Distribution 

19  YEARS  AS  AN  INDUSTRY  LEADER!  Representing  out- 
standing video  on  healthcare,  mental  health,  disabilities 
&  related  issues.  Our  films  win  Oscars,  Emmys,  Duponts, 
Freddies  &  more.  Join  us!  Fanlight  Productions:  (800) 
937-4113;  www.fanlight.com 

AN  OUTSTANDING  DISTRIBUTOR  seeks  outstanding  pro- 
ducers to  join  us.  Seeking  educational  documentaries  and 
training  videos  on  disabilities,  mental  health,  aging,  stress, 
health  issues.  As  a  medium-sized  distributor  we  give  your 
video  the  attention  it  deserves.  Call  or  email  us!  Our  films 
win  Emmys,  Freddies,  CINE's,  Oscars,  and  more!  Aquarius 
Health  Care  Videos:  888-441-2963;  leslie@aquarius 
productions.com;  www.aquariusproductions.com 

BUDGETS/INVESTOR  PACKAGE:  Experienced  line  produc- 
er will  prepare  script  breakdowns,  shooting  schedules  & 
detailed  budgets.  Movie  Magic  equipped.  MC,  Visa,  Amex. 
Indie  rates  negotiable.  Mark  (212)  340-1243. 

BUYINDIES.COM  The  founders  of  NewEnglandFilm.com 
have  created  another  site:  Buylndies.com,  a  community 


to  buy  &  sell  independent  films.  If  you  have  copies  of 
your  movie  available  on  VHS  or  DVD,  then  you  can  join  as 
a  seller  and  list  any  or  all  of  your  titles.  Buylndies.com 
handles  the  ecommerce.  customer  service  and  promo- 
tion; you  handle  the  shipping.  Filmmakers  keep  all  rights 
to  the  film.  Already  over  45,000  titles  have  been  gath- 
ered. You  can  find  out  more  info  at:  www.buyindies.com/ 
sell/;  or  email:  info@buyindies.com 

EDUCATIONAL  DISTRIBUTOR  SEEKS  GUIDANCE 
VIDEOS  on  issues  such  as  violence,  drug  prevention, 
mentoring,  children's  health  &  parenting  for  exclusive 
distribution.  Our  marketing  gives  unequaled  results!  Call 
Sally  Germain  at  The  Bureau  for  At-Risk  Youth:  (800)  99- 
YOUTH  x.  210. 

LOOKING    FOR    AN    EDUCATIONAL    DISTRIBUTOR? 

Consider  the  University  of  California.  We  can  put  80  years 
of  successful  marketing  expertise  to  work  for  you.  Kate 
Spohr:  (510)  643-2788;  www-cmil.unex.berkeley.edu/ 
media/ 

THE  CINEMA  GUILD,  leading  film/video/multimedia  dis- 
tributor, seeks  new  doc,  fiction,  educational  &  animation 
programs  for  distribution.  Send  videocassettes  or  discs 
for  evaluation  to:  The  Cinema  Guild,  130  Madison  Ave., 
2nd  fl.,  New  York,  NY  10016;  (212)  685-6242; 
TheCmemaG@aol.com;  Ask  for  our  Distribution 
Services  brochure. 

Freelance 

35MM/16MM  PROD.  PKG  w/  DP:  Complete  package  w/ 
DP's  own  Arri  35BL,  16SR,  HMIs,  dolly,  jib  crane,  light- 
ing, DAT,  grip,  5-ton  truck. . .  more.  Ideal  1-source  for  the 
low-budget  producer!  Call  for  reel:  Tom  Agnello  (201) 
741-4367. 

ACCLAIMED  AND  UNUSUAL  instrumental  band  can  pro- 
vide music  for  your  next  project.  Contact  "Magonia"  for 
demo:  (781)  932-4677;  boygirl@mediaone.net; 
www.magonia.com 

ANDREW  DUNN,  Director  of  Photography/camera  opera- 
tor Arn35  BL3,  Aaton  XTRprod  S16,  Sony  DVCAM. 
Experience  in  features,  docs,  TV  &  industrials.  Credits: 
Dog  Run,  Strays,  Working  Space/Working  Light.  (212) 
477-0172;  AndrewD158@aol.com 

AWARD-WINNING  EDITOR.  w/Avid  and  Beta  SP  facility. 
Features,  shorts,  docs,  music  videos,  educational, 
industrials,  demos.  Trilingual:  Spanish,  English,  Catalan. 
Nuria  Olive-Belles  (212)  627-9256. 

BRENDAN  C.  FLYNT:  Director  of  Photography  w/  many 
feature  &  short  film  credits.  Owns  35  Arri  BL3,  Super 
16/16  Aaton,  HMIs,  Tungsten  &  dolly  w/ tracks.  Awards 
at  Sundance  &  Raindance.  Call  for  quotes  &  reel  at  (212) 
226-8417;  www.dp-brendanflynt.com 

CINEMATOGRAPHER  w/  Am  SR  Super  16  package  & 
35IIC,  w/  over  15  years  in  the  industry.  Credits  incl.  2nd 
unit,  FX  &  experimental.  Looking  for  interesting  projects. 
Will  travel.  Theo  (212)  774-4157;  pager:  (213)  707-6195. 

CINEMATOGRAPHER  w/  reg/S-16mm  Aaton,  video-tap, 
lighting  gear  &  more.  Digital  video  too.  Collaborations  in 
features,  shorts,  docs,  music  videos  &  other  compelling 
visions.  Kevin  Skvorak,  reel  &  rates  (718)  782-9179; 
kevskvk@inx.net 


CINEMATOGRAPHER  w/  Super  16  package  with  video 
tap,  digital,  lighting;  20  yrs  experience  on  features, 
shorts,  documentaries,  music  videos.  Italian,  English, 
some  Spanish;  will  travel.  Renato  Tonelli  (718)  728- 
7567;  rtonelli@tiscalinet.it 

COMPOSER:  Experienced,  award-winning  Yale  conser- 
vatory grad  writes  affordable  music  in  any  style  that  will 
enhance  your  project.  Save  money  without  compromising 
creativity.  Full  service  digital  recording  studio.  Free  demo 
CD/initial  consultation/rough  sketch.  Call  Joseph 
Rubenstein;  (212)  242-2691;  joe56@earthlink.net 

COMPOSER  Miriam  Cutler  loves  to  collaborate  with  film- 
makers— features,  docs.  Sundance:  Licensed  to  Kill, 
Death:  A  Love  Story  I  Peabody:  The  Castro  I POV:  Double 
Life  of  Ernesto  Gomez  Gomez  &  more  (323)  664-1807; 
mircut2@earthlink.net 

COMPOSER:  Original  music  for  your  film  or  video  project. 
Will  work  with  any  budget.  Complete  digital  studio.  NYC 
area.  Demo  CD  upon  request.  Call  Ian  O'Brien:  (201) 
222-2638;  iobrien@bellatlantic.net 

COMPOSER:  Perfect  music  for  your  project.  Orchestral  to 
techno — you  name  it!  Credits  incl.  NFL,  PBS,  Sundance, 
Absolut.  Bach,  of  Music,  Eastman  School.  Quentin 
Chiappetta  (718)  752-9194;  (917)  721-0058;  qchiap@ 
el.net 

CREATIVE  DIRECTOR  OF  PHOTOGRAPHY  w/  lighting 
director  background.  Specialty  films  my  specialty.  Can 
give  your  film  that  unique  "look."  16mm  &  35mm  pack- 
ages avail.  Call  Charles  for  reel:  (212)  295-7878. 

DIGITAL  VIDEO— Sony  VX100  digital  camera  &  camera- 
man, Sennheiser  ME  66  shotgun  mic,  pro  accessories. 
Experienced  in  dance,  theater,  performance  art  docu- 
mentation &  features.  Final  Cut  Pro  digital  editing  with 
editor  $125/day.  John  Newell  (212)  677-6652; 
johnewell@earthlink.net 

DIGITAL  VIDEO  Videographer/DR  with  Canon  XL-1  video- 
cam;  prefer  documentaries,  shorts  and  less  traditional 
projects;  documentation  for  dance,  music  and  perfor- 
mance. Alan  Roth  (718)  218-8065;  (917)  548-4512; 
alanroth@mail.com 

DIGITAL  VIDEOGRAPHER  with  Sony  VX-1000  and 
Lectrosonic  radio  mic.  available  and  happy  to  shoot  doc- 
umentaries and  shorts.  Contact  Melissa  (212)  352- 
4141;  meliss@rcn.com 

DIRECTOR  OF  PHOTOGRAPHY:  Award-winning,  exp,  look- 
ing for  interesting  projects.  Credits  incl.  features,  docs  & 
commercials  in  the  U.S.,  Europe  &  Israel.  Own  complete 
Aaton  Super  16  pkg  &  lights.  Call  Adam  for  reel.  (212) 
932-8255  or  (917)  504-7244;  nyvardy@worldnet.att.net 

DIRECTOR  OF  PHOTOGRAPHY;  Looking  for  creative  pro- 
jects to  lens;  features,  commercials,  shorts,  music 
videos  &  documentaries.  35  and  16mm  packages  avail. 
New  York/Boston  based,  will  travel.  Call  for  reel:  (781) 
545-2609;  bkarol@mediaone.net 

DIRECTOR  OF  PHOTOGRAPHY  looking  for  interesting 
features,  shorts,  ind.  projects,  etc.  Credits  incl.  features, 
commercials,  industrials,  short  films,  music  videos. 
Aaton  16/S-16  pkg  avail.  Abe  (718)  263-0010. 

DIRECTOR  OF  PHOTOGRAPHY  w/  Am  16  &  35BL2  cam- 
era pkgs.  Credits  incl.  many  indie  features  &  shorts. 


58    THE    INDEPENDENT     March  2001 


Create  "big  film"  look  on  low  budget.  Flexible  rates  &  I 
work  quickly.  Willing  to  travel.  Matthew:  (617)  244- 
6730;  (845)  439-5459;  mwdp@rcn.com 

DIRECTOR  OF  PHOTOGRAPHY  with  Arri  BL  3,  Aaton  XTR 
Prod  S16/16mm,  and  Canon  XL1  camera  package  is 
ready  to  shoot  your  project.  Call  Jay  Silver  at  (718)  383- 
1325  tor  a  copy  of  reel,  email:  hihosliver@earthlink.com 

DOCUMENTARY  VIDEOGRAPHER  with  extensive  inter- 
national experience  (Latin  America,  Africa,  Europe  & 
Canada).  22  years  of  experience  as  director/producer, 
videographer  and  editor  of  independent  documentaries 
broadcast  on  CNN  International,  PBS,  Cinemax  &  CBC. 
Last  doc  premiered  at  Sundance  Festival.  Specializes  in 
cinema  verite,  social  issue  &  multicultural  projects. 
Robbie  Leppzer,  Turning  Tide  Productions;  (800)  557- 
6414;  leppzer@turningtide.com;  www.turningtide.com 

DP  WITH  CAMERA:  SR/S.  16  &  High  Speed  S.  16.  Over 
20  yrs  exp.  in  indie,  feature,  commercial,  doc  work. 
Extensive  camera  pkg.  For  background,  client  list,  to 
view  clips/stills  or  order  reel  visit:  www.kozma.com; 
(813)  835-6162;  zfilm@gte.net 

DV  CONSULTANT:  Need  help  w/  Final  Cut  Pro?  Exp.  con- 
sultant avail,  for  training  in  FCP  AfterEffects,  Media 
Cleaner  Pro,  or  just  Mac  basics.  Former  Apple  tech  rep. 
&  working  filmmaker  in  NYC.  Discount  for  AIVF  members. 
Greg  (347)  731-3466. 

EDITOR  WITH  AVID,  Beta  SR  DVCam,  miniDV,  DAT,  3/4", 
AfterEffects,  Commotion,  etc.  Experienced  with  features, 
documentaries,  broadcast,  industrials  &  short  form 
material;  commercial  to  avant  garde.  Convenient  East 
Village  location  with  windows!  $350/day,  $50/hr.  (212) 
228-1914;  www.detournyc.com 

EDITOR  WITH  AVID:  Conscientious  advocate  of  the 
Invisible  Cut.  Comfy  West  Village  space.  AVR77,  216 
gigs,  Beta,  VHS,  DV.  MC/Visa.  Bill  G.  (212)  243-1343; 
gcomvid@usa.net 

ENTERTAINMENT  ATTORNEY:  frequent  contributor  to 
"Legal  Brief"  columns  in  The  Independent  &  other  mag- 
azines, offers  legal  services  to  film  &  video  community 
on  projects  from  development  thru  distribution.  Contact 
Robert  LSeigel,  Esq,  (212)  333-7000. 

EXPERIENCED  CINEMATOGRAPHER  with  crew  &  equip- 
ment; 16mm  &  35mm.  Short  films  &  features.  Vincent 
(212)779-1441. 

GRANTWRITING/FUNDRAISING:  Research,  writing  & 
strategy  (for  production,  distrib,  exhibition,  &  educational 
projects  of  media).  Successful  proposals  to  NYSCA,  NEA, 
NEH,  ITVS,  Soros,  Rockefeller  Foundation,  Lila  Acheson 
Wallace  Foundation.  Fast  writers,  reasonable  rates. 
Wanda  Bershen,  (212)  598-0224;  www.reddiaper.com;  or 
Geri  Thomas  (212)  625-2011;  www.artstaffing.com 

INDEPENDENT  PRODUCTION  COMPANY:  Providing  ser- 
vices for  independent  filmmakers,  incl.  all  the  crew  &  equip, 
needed.  We  also  help  you  w/  locations,  craft  services, 
wardrobe,  transportation,  etc. . .  Basically  everything  that 
goes  on  behind  the  camera.  We  specialize  in  independent 
filmmaking — features,  shorts,  music  videos.  Will  consider 
any  budget.  Contact  Vadim  Epstein  (917)  921-4646. 

JOHN  BASKO:  Documentary  cameraman  w/  extensive 
international  Network  experience.  Civil  wars  in  Kosovo, 


Beirut,  El  Salvador,  Nicaragua,  Tiananmen  Square  stu- 
dent uprising.  Equipment  maintained  by  Sony.  (718) 
278-7869;  fax-.  278-6830;  Johnbasko@icnt.net 

LOCATION  SOUND:  Over  20  yrs  sound  exp.  w/timecode 
Nagra  &  DAT,  quality  mics.  Reduced  rates  for  low-budget 
projects.  Harvey  &  Fred  Edwards,  (518)  677-5720; 
edfilms@worldnet.att.net 

LUDGER  K.  BALAN-DIRECTOR  OF  PHOTOGRAPHY:  vari- 
ous features,  shorts,  docs,  music  videos,  indus.  Own  Am 
SRII  S16/16mm  pkg.  Award-winning,  visual  story  teller. 
Highly  skilled  tech.  Reel-  SAF/TLE-  Ph/Fx:  (718)  802-9874. 

PRODUCTION  TEAM:  Providing  services  ranging  from 
budget  preparation  to  postproduction  supervision.  Help 
for  your  feature,  short,  video  or  commercial.  Reduced 
rates  for  low-budget  projects.  A.L.  Films:  (718)  322- 
3202;  info@legitfilms.com 

Opportunites  •  Gigs 

HARLEM-BASED  PRODUCTION  COMPANY  seeks  interns 
and  production  assistants  for  upcoming  projects.  We 
produce  science  fiction  and  horror  digital  videos  from  the 
African  Diaspora.  Please  fax/email  resume  to:  (718) 
783-4357  or  mizanmedia@mail.com 

MANHATTAN-BASED  PRODUCTION  COMPANY  seeks 
experienced  producers,  associate  producers  &  re- 
searchers for  history,  travel  &  health  documentaries. 
Please  fax  resume  to  (212)  647-0940;  attention:  office 
coordinator. 

SHOOTINGDV.COM,  a  new  resource  for  indie  film  and  DV 
makers,  is  currently  presenting  SPY  "the  first  indepen- 
dent digital  feature  produced  on  the  Internet."  Please 
contact:  info@ShootingDV.com  to  intern  or  volunteer  in 
administration,  development,  marketing,  streaming 
video,  or  web  work  on  this  exciting  new  media  project. 

WELL-ESTABLISHED  freelance  camera  group  in  NYC 
seeking  professional  cameramen  and  soundmen  w/  solid 
Betacam  video  experience  to  work  w/  our  wide  array  of 
clients.  If  qualified  contact  COA  at  (212)  505-1911. 
Must  have  video  samples/reel. 

Preproduction 

PRODUCTION  OFFICE:  West  85th  in  NYC,  fully  wired  all 
office  equip,  Beta,  3/4"  dubbing,  animation.  Avid  room  as 
needed.  Short  or  long-term.  Dana  (212)  501-7878  x.  222. 

SU-CITY  PICTURES:  The  Screenplay  Doctor,  The  Movie 
Mechanic:  We  provide  screenplay/treatment/synopsis/ 
films-in-progress  insight/analysis.  Studio  credentials 
include:  Miramax  &  Warner  Bros.  Competitive  rates. 
Brochure:  (212)  219-9224;  www.su-city-pictures.com 

POSTPROUCTION 

16MM  CUTTING  ROOMS:  8-plate  &  6-plate  fully 
equipped  rooms,  sound-transfer  facilities,  24-hr  access. 
Downtown,  near  all  subways  &  Canal  St.  Reasonable 
rates.  (212)  925-1500. 

16MM  SOUND  MIX  only  $100/hr.  Interlocked  16mm  pic- 
ture &  tracks  mixed  to  16  or  35mm  fullcoat. 
16mm/35mm  post  services:  picture  &  sound  editorial, 
ADR,  interlock  screening,  16mm  mag  xfers  (.06/ft), 
16mm  edgecoding  (.015/ft).  Call  Tom  (201)  741-4367. 


AVIDS  TOGO 


Luna  delirei'S. 


X 


free  delivery  and  set-up  in  your  home  or  office 

long  term //short  term  rentals 
the  most  cost-effective  way  to  cut  your  indie  film 


PICTURES 


212  255  2564 


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March   2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      59 


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ONTRA 


VIDEO 


AVIO  EDIT  SUITES 

OFF  LINE /ON    LINE/3DFX 


Grafix  Suite/After  Effects 
Audio  Design/Mixing/Protools 
V.O.  Booth/Read  To  Picture 


VOICE 


212. 24-4-. 074-4 


nyidddi         FAX         212.244.0690 


AVID  EDITOR;  A  dozen  feature  credits.  New  Media 
Composer  w/  AVR  77  &  offline  rez.  Beta  SR  DAT,  extra 
drives,  Pro-tools  editing  &  mixing,  and  your  Avid  or  mine. 
Fast  and  easy  to  get  along  with.  Credit  cards  accepted. 
Drina  (212)  561-0829. 

BRODSKY  &  TREADWAY  Film-to-tape  masters.  Reversal 
only.  Regular  8mm,  super  8,  or  archival  16mm.  We  love 
early  B&W  &  Kodachrome.  Scene-by-scene  only.  Correct 
frame  rates.  For  appt.  call  (978)  948-7985. 

DVD  AUTHORING:  Full  DVD  project  management.  Spruce 
system,  compression,  encoding,  menu  creation,  author- 
ing and  replication  for  your  film.  We  are  nice  people  and 
we  have  very  reasonable  pricing.  (212)  563-4589;  245 
W.  29  St.,  NY,  NY  10001 

EDIT/SHOOT  IN  SAN  DIEGO:  Discreet  Edit  5.0  non-linear 

system.  90  gigs  memory,  component  Beta,  DV,  S-VHS. 
Betacam  &  DV  field  pkg.  Sony  D-30/PW3  &VX2000.  Full 
audio,  graphics,  etc.  Low  rates.  Call  (800)  497-1109; 
www.peteroliver.com 

FINAL  CUT  PRO:  Rent  a  private  edit  suite  in  financial 
district  w/  24  hr  access.  12  hrs  b'cast  quality  storage, 
Photoshop,  AfterEffects.  Also,  rent  b'cast  quality  DV  hid- 
den camera  pkg:  $250/day.  Jonathan,  Mint  Leaf  Prods: 
(212)  952-0121 X.  229. 

MEDIA  100  EDITING  Broadcast  quality,  newest  soft- 
ware. Huge  storage  &  RAM.  Betacam,  3/4".  all  DV  for- 
mats, S-VHS,  Hi-8.  .  .  Great  location,  friendly  environ- 
ment &  low  rates,  tech  support,  talented  editors  &  fx 
artists  available:  (212)  868-0028. 

PRODUCER  WITH  PRODUCTION  OFFICE  looking  for  low 
budget  features  to  produce  in  New  York.  Will  provide 
budgeting/scheduling,  production  personnel.  Video, 
shorts  and  feature  experience.  Call  Val  at  (212)  295- 
7878  or  zelda212@netscape.net 

PRODUCTION  TRANSCRIPTS;  Verbatim  transcripts  for 
documentaries,  journalists,  etc.  Low  prices  &  flat  rates 
based  on  tape  length.  A  standard  1  hr.,  1-on-l 
interview  is  only  $70:  www.productiontranscripts.com 
for  details  or  calh(888)  349-3022. 

PROFESSIONAL  VIDEO  COMPRESSION  for  presenting 
work  over  the  Internet.  Years  of  experience  &  clients  incl. 
film  festivals  &  independent  filmmakers.  Discount  for 
AIVF  members.  Contact:  compression@randomroom 
.com;  www.randomroom.com/compression 

SOUND  ART  FILMS/TIMELINE  EDITORIAL:  A  convenient 
one  stop  film/video  production/postproduction  boutique. 
Founded  by  a  team  of  award-winning  indie  filmmakers. 
Award-winning  cinematographer  w/Arri  SRII  S16mm/ 
16mm.  Avid  Media  Comp.  Suite — offline,  online.  Light  & 
DAT  sound,  audio/visual  rentals.  Web  design  &  graphics. 
Still  photography.  Underwater  photo/video.  For  DP  reel  & 
other  info.  Ph/Fx  (718)  802-9874;  http://home.att.net/ 
— soundart;  Loc.15  min.  from  mid  Mann,  in  Bklyn. 

TWO  CHEAP  AVIDS!  Great  rental  prices.  Media 
Composer  XL1000,  Chelsea  location:  (212)  242-3005. 
Avid  400  5.5,  Beta  Deck,  36GB,  Upper  West  Side:  (212) 
579-4294. 

UNCOMPRESSED  AVID  MEDIA  COMPOSER:  Fastest 
Avid  on  the  block!  A  comfortable  large  room  with  all  the 
amenities.  Blue  Ice  board,  After  Effects,  Photoshop, 
Illustrator,  digital  audio  board,  video  projector,  too. 
Production  Central  (212)  631-0435. 


60     THE    INDEPENDENT     March  2001 


www.aivf.org 


from  the  director 

SO  YOU  HAVE  A  GREAT  IDEA,  YOU  KNOW 
what  you  are  doing,  you  have  access...  you 
go  out  on  a  limb  to  make  your  doc, 
because  you  know  that  the  things  that 
fired  you  up  in  the  first  place  will  resonate 
with  an  audience.  Maybe  you  dream  of  a 
national  playdate  on  PBS,  where  a  single 
prime -time  screening  is  likely  to  draw 
upwards  of  six  million  viewers. 

But  PTV  opportunities  for  independents 
are  slim,  and  it  can  be  hard  to  get  your  foot 
in  the  door.  It's  therefore  little  surprise 
that  AIVF's  Pitch  to  PBS  sessions,  next 
occurring  in  May,  have  been  among  our 
most  popular  programs.  Preparing  presen- 
tations to  PBS  acquisition  executives  has 
helped  hundreds  of  members  better  articu- 
late their  project  and  goals,  dozens  to 
refine  their  approach  and  pitch,  and  two 
producers  to  get  their  shows  on  the  air! 

We  at  AIVF  are  proud  of  our  program, 
and  excited  about  new  PBS  head  Pat 
Mitchell's  establishment  of  a  new  bureau 
of  Program  Development  &  Independent 
Film.  We  hope  that  it  is  the  harbinger  of  a 
renewed  interest  by  PBS  in  the  glorious 
possibility  of  truly  independent  work. 

—  Elizabeth  Peters 


reachAIVF 

FILMMAKERS'  RESOURCE  LIBRARY 
hours:  TUES.-FRI.  11-6;  WED.  11-9 

The  AIVF  office  is  located  at  304  Hudson  St. 
(between  Spring  &  Vandam)  6th  fl.,  in  New  York 

City.  Subways:  1  or  9  to  Houston,  C  or  E  to 
Spring.  Our  Filmmakers'  Resource  Library  hous- 
es hundreds  of  print  and  electronic 
resources — from  essential  directories  &  trade 

magazines  to  sample  proposals  &  budgets. 

BY  PHONE:  (212)807-1400 

Recorded  information  available  24/7; 
operator  on  duty  Tues.-Fri.  2-5p.m.  EST 

by  INTERNET:  www.aivf.org;  info@aivf.org 


aivf  events 

UNLESS  OTHERWISE  NOTED,  EVENTS  TAKE  PLACE 

AT  THE  AIVF  OFFICE  (ADDRESS  IN  BOX  BELOW). 

RSVP  REQUIRED:  (212)  807-1400  x.301. 

HEALTH  INSURANCE  L0WD0WN 
TUES.,  MARCH  6,  6:30-8:30 

Meet  reps  from  insurance  agencies  that 
help  AIVF  members  obtain  discounted 
rates  on  health  insurance  everyday.  RBA 
Insurance  Strategies,  Teigit  (CIGNA 
Health  Plans),  and  Bader  Associates  will 
attend  to  present  various  options  offered 
to  individuals  and  answer  your  questions 
about  how  to  find  the  plan  that's  right  for 
you.  Free  to  members  and  general  public. 

AIVFATTHENYUFF 

MARCH  7-13,  ANTHOLOGY  FILM  ARCHIVES,  NYC 


KiueWfwsK  Wve 


affec- 
t  l  o  n  a  t  e  1  y 
dubbed  the 
FMMra*™M-  NYUFF"some- 
where  between  Warhol's  Factory  and  the 
Manson  Family."  And  here  it  is,  parading  its 
8th  Year  in  full  regalia.  Don't  miss  the  col- 
lection that  defies  convention!  AIVF  is 
proud  to  co-present  two  panel  discussions: 

Saturday,  March  10,  J  2-2  p.m. 

Spare  Some  Change? 

Navigating  Grants  and  Funding  Options 

Sunday,  March  1 1,  12-2  p.m. 

Selling  Your  Ass  to  TV: 

The  Skinny  on  Television  Sales 

Events  take  place  at  Anthology  Film 
Archives  (32  2nd  Ave)  and  are  free  to  all. 
No  RSVP  necessary.  FFI:  www.aivf.org  or 
www.nyuff.com.  For  tickets  and  festival 
info:  (212)  252-3845. 

AIVF  CO-SPONSORS: 

THE  2001  SOUTH  BY  SOUTHWEST 

FILM  CONFERENCE  &  FESTIVAL 

MARCH  10-20TH,  AUSTIN,  TEXAS 

The  SXSW  Film  Festival  annually  show- 
cases the  best  new  discoveries  in  indepen 


call  for  poroposals 


PBS 


3RD  ANNUAL 

PITCH  TO  PBS 
SESSIONS 

IN-0FFICE  DEADLINE: 
TUESDAY,  MARCH  27 


Emerging  as  one  of  AIVF's  most  significant  oppor- 
tunities, PBS  offers  one-on-one  meetings  with 
producers.  In  early  May,  a  number  of  pre-select- 
ed  AIVF  members  will  meet  (at  AIVF's  NYC  office) 
with  members  of  the  National  PBS  senior  pro- 
gramming staff  to  pitch  their  projects  and  discuss 
possible  broadcast  on  PBS. 

Projects  must  be  at  a  rough  cut  or  finished 
stage  to  be  eligible.  For  complete  submission 
details,  log  on  to  www.aivf.org  or  contact  (212) 
807-1400  x  301  to  have  an  application  packet 
send  to  you  by  mail. 

Next  Pitch  opportunity:  September,  2001. 


dent  film.  Don't  miss  their  nine  days  of 
competition  screenings  along  with  a  ret- 
rospective series,  an  off-beat  midnight 
series,  and  spe- 
cial premieres. 


SMSUJ 


SXSWs  Film  Conference  offers  the  work- 
ing independent  filmmaker  advice,  infor- 
mation and  insight  into  how  to  get  a  film 
made  and  seen.  Veteran  producers,  up- 
and-coming  directors,  film  critics  and 
industry  insiders  map  out  the  complex 
terrain  of  the  independent  film  world  in 
four  days  of  discussion,  discovery  and 
inspiration.  Look  for  AIVF  staff  on  panels 
at  the  Conference.  FFI:  www.sxsw.com; 
512/467-7979. 

MEET  &  GREET  ClNEBLAST! 
THURSDAY  MARCH  15,  6:30-8:30 
cineBLAST!  was  established  in  1996  to 
distribute  video  compilations  of  short 
films.  This  then-new  venue  for  displaying 
the  work  of  short  filmmakers  (all  three  vol- 
umes) became  so  successful  that 
cineBLAST!  rapidly  emerged  as  one  of  the 


March   2001     THE     INDEPENDENT      61 


industry's  Top  15  Production  Companies 
in  New  York.  cineBLASTFs  core  strength 
is  the  identification  and  nurturing  of  new 
talent,  often  producing  first  films  as  well 
contributing  to  the  ongoing  development 
of  careers. 

cineBLASTTs  diverse  range  of  material 
includes:  Desert  Blue,  Dear  Jesse,  Bobby 

— MMppM       G 

cineE!251   Swim- 

■■■■■    Kill 


Inches,  and  Spring  Forward,  along  with 
the  Greg  The  Bunny  show  on  IFC.  Check 
them  out  at:  www.cineblast.com.  Cost: 
free  AIVF  members;  $10  general  public. 

IN  BRIEF:  ADVICE  FROM  THE  PROS 
DISSECTING  THE  PBS  CONTRACT 

THURSDAY  MARCH  22,  6:30-8:30 

Co-Sponsored  by  Women  Make  Movies 

Join  the  discussion  on  PBS  contracts  with 
Robert  I.  Freedman,  a  partner  at  Cowan 
DeBaets  Abrahams  and  Sheppard,  and 
former  general  counsel  of  WNET-TV, 
New  York  City's  public  television  station. 
Since  1978  he  has  represented  indepen- 
dent producers,  whose  work  often  airs  on 
public  television.  He  will  present  busi- 
ness/legal issues  in  negotiating  contracts 
with  and  for  public  television  including 
agreements  for  production,  coproduction 
and  acquisition.  Issues  include  copyright, 
distribution  rights,  income  and  profit 
shares,  clearances  and  union  agreements. 
Cost:  $20  members  of  AIVF  &  WMM; 
$30  general  public. 

AIVF  CO-SPONSORS: 

OPEN  ZONE  4 

MONDAY,  MARCH  27TH,  7:00  RM. 

Quarterly  Open  Screening  Forum  for 
NYC  film-  and  videomakers  at  Galapagos 
Ar  Space  in  Brooklyn.  To  attend/submit: 
www.ocularis  .net;  718/388-8713. 

AIVF  CO-SPONSORS: 

SELECT  SCREENINGS  PRESENTED  BY 

THE  FILM  SOCIETY  OF  LINCOLN  CENTER 

AIVF  members  may  attend  specific  films 

for  just  $5  per  ticket  with  card! 

FFI:  (212)  875-5600orwww.filmlinc.com 

The  Urban  Generation:  Chinese  Cinema 
in  Transformation:   Feb.  23-March  8 

Rendezvous  with  French  Cinema: 

March  9-18 

Ermanno  Olmi  Retrospective: 

March  21 -April  12 


The  Foundation  for  Independent  Video  and  Film  (FIVF),  the  educational  affiliate 
of  the  Association  for  Independent  Video  and  Filmmakers  (AIVF),  supports  a 

variety  of  programs  and  services  for  the 
independent   media   community,   including 


publication  of  The  Independent  and  a  series  of  resource  publications,  seminars 
and  workshops,  and  information  services. 

None  of  this  work  would  be  possible  without  the  generous  support  of  the  AIVF 
membership  and  the  following  organizations: 

The  Mary  Duke  Biddle  Foundation 


W 


NYSCA 


The  Chase  Manhattan  Foundation 

Forest  Creatures  Entertainment,  Inc. 

The  William  and  Flora  Hewlett 
Foundation 

LEF  Foundation 

Albert  A.  List  Foundation,  Inc. 


The  John  D.  and  Catherine  T. 
MacArthur  Foundation 

The  National  Endowment  for  the  Arts 

New  York  City  Department  of  Cultural 
Affairs:  Cultural  Challenge  Program 

New  York  Foundation  for  the  Arts:  TechTAP 

New  York  State  Council  on  the  Arts 


We  also  wish  to  thank  the  following  individuals  and  organizational  members: 

BlJSineSS/lndUStry  Members:  CA:  Action/Cut  Directed  By  Seminars;  Dr.  Rawstock; 
Eastman  Kodak  Co.;  Film  Society  of  Ventura  County;  Focal  Point  Systems,  Inc.;  Forest  Creatures 
Entertainment  Co.;  Idea  Live;  Marshall/Stewart  Productions,  Inc.;  ProMax  Systems  Inc.;  Somford 
Entertainment;  CO:  The  Crew  Connection;  CT:  Bagel  Fish  Prods.;  DC:  Consciousness  Squared 
Communications;  FL  Tiger  Productions,  Inc.;  GA:  Indie  7;  IL:  Optimus;  MA:  Coolidge  Corner  Theatre 
Fdtn.;  CS  Associates,  Glidecam  Industries;  Harvard  Medical  School;  MD:  The  Learning  Channel;  Ml: 
Grace  &  Wild  Studios,  Inc.;  Zooropa  Design;  NJ:  Black  Maria  Film  Festival;  Diva  Communications, 
Inc.;  NY:  All  In  One  Promotions,  Inc.;  American  Montage;  Analog  Digital  Intl.;  Archive  Films,  Inc.; 
Asset  Pictures;  The  Bureau  for  At-Risk  Youth;  C-Hundred  Film  Corporation;  Cineblast!  Prods.;  Corra 
Films;  Deconstruction  Co.;  Dekart  Video;  Dependable  Delivery,  Inc.;  DV8  Video  Inc.;  Earth  Video; 
Human  Relations  Media;  Hypnotic;  Inkling  Prods.;  Kitchen  Sync  Group,  Inc.;  KL  Lighting;  Mad 
Mad  Judy;  Media  Services;  Mercer  Media;  Mercer  St.  Sound;  Mixed  Greens;  Nuclear  Warrier 
Prods.;  NTV  Studio  Productions;  On  Track  Video,  Inc.;  One  Kilohertz;  Partisan  Pictures;  Paul 
Dinatale  Post,  Inc.;  Prime  Technologies;  Son  Vida  Pictures,  LLC;  Sound  Mechanix;  Stuart  Math 
Films,  Inc.;  The  Tape  Company;  The  Outpost;  Tribune  Pictures;  Winstar  Productions;  Wolfen  Prods 
OR:  Angel  Station  Corp;  PA:  Smithtown  Creek  Prods.;  TX:  Rose  Noble  Entertainment;  UT:  KBYU-TV; 
Rapid  Video,  LLC;  VA:  Bono  Film  &  Video;  Dorst  MediaWorks;  Roland  House,  Inc.;  WA:  Amazon.com 
Global  Griot  Prod.;  France:  Kendal  Prods. 

Nonprofit  Members:  AL  Sidewalk  Moving  Picture  Fest.  AR:  Hot  springs  Doc.  Film  Inst. 
AZ:  U  of  Arizona;  Scottsdale  Community  College;  CA:  The  Berkeley  Documentary  Center;  Filmmakers 
Alliance;  Intl.  Buddhist  Film  Festival;  ITVS;  LEF  Foundation;  Los  Angeles  Film  Commission;  Media 
Fund;  NAATA;  Ojai  Film  Society;  San  Francisco  Jewish  Festival;  U  of  Cal.  Extension,  CMIL;  USC 
School  of  Cinema  TV;  Victory  Outreach  Church;  Whispered  Media;  CO:  Denver  Center  for  the 
Performing  Arts;  DC:  Corporation  for  Public  Broadcasting;  Media  Access  Project;  GA:  Image  Film  & 
Video  Center;  HI:  Aha  Punana  Leo;  ID:  Center  for  School  Improvement;  IL:  Chicago  Underground 
Film  Fest.;  Columbia  College;  Community  Television  Network;  Facets;  Little  City  Foundation;  Rock 
Valley  College;  KY:  Appalshop;  LA:  New  Orleans  Film  Fest.;  MA:  CCTV;  Coolidge  Corner  Theatre 
Foundation;  Harvard  Medical  School;  Long  Bow  Group  Inc;  Lowell  Telecommunications  Corp.;  LTC 
Communications;  MD:  Laurel  Cable  Network;  Native  Vision  Media;  Ml:  Ann  Arbor  Film  Fest.;  MN: 
Bush  Artist  Fellowships;  IFP/North;  Intermedia  Arts;'  Walker  Arts  Center;  MO:  Webster  University 
Film  Series;  MS:  Magnolia  Indie  Festival;  NC:  Doubletake  Documentary  Film  Fest;  NE:  Nebraska 
Independent  Film  Project,  Inc.;  NY:  Center  for  New  American  Media;  Cinema  Arts  Center;  City 
University  of  New  York  -  TV  Tech  Program;  Communications  Society;  Cornell  Cinema;  Creative 
Capital  Foundation;  Crowing  Rooster  Arts;  DCTV;  Downtown  Community  TV;  Educational  Video 
Center;  Film  Forum;  Film  Society  of  Lincoln  Center;  Globalvision,  Inc.;  Guggenheim  Museum  SoHo; 
Hamptons  Film  Festival;  John  Jay  High  School;  Konscious,  Inc.;  Manhattan  Neighborhood  Network; 
National  Foundation  for  Jewish  Culture;  National  Video  Resources;  New  York  Film  Academy;  New 
York  Women  In  Film  and  Television;  Open  Society  Institute/Soros  Documentary  Fund;  Paper  Tiger  TV; 
Spiral  Pictures;  The  Standby  Program;  Stony  Brook  Film  Fest.;  Third  World  Newsreel; 
Thirteen/WNET;  Upstate  Films,  Ltd.;  Women  Make  Movies;  OH:  Cleveland  Filmmakers;  Media 
Bridges  Cincinnati;  Ohio  Independent  Film  Festival;  Ohio  University-Film;  Wexner  Center;  OR: 
Communication  Arts,  MHCC;  Northwest  Film  Center;  PA:  PA/Council  On  The  Arts;  Prince  Music  Theater; 
Scribe  Video  Center;  Temple  University;  Univ.  of  the  Arts;  Rl:  Flickers  Arts  Collaborative;  SC:  South 
Carolina  Arts  Comm.;  TN:  Nashville  Independent  Film  Fest;  TX:  Austin  Cinemaker  Co-Op;  Austin 
Film  Society;  Southwest  Alternate  Media  Project;  U.  of  Texas  Dept.  Radio-TV-Film;  Worldfest 
Houston;  UT:  Sundance  Institute;  VT:  Kingdom  County  Productions;  Wl:  UWM  Department  of  Film 
U  of  Wisconsin  Dept  of  Communcation  Arts;  Wisconsin  Film  Office;  Argentina:  Lagart  Producciones 
Canada:  Toronto  Documentary  Forum/Hot  Docs;  Germany:  International  Shorts  Film  Festival;  India 
Foundation  for  Universal  Responsibility 


62    THE    INDEPENDENT     March  2001 


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Li£S±J£l 


The  AiVF  Regional  Salons  provide  an  opportunity  for 
members  to  discuss  work,  meet  other  independents, 
share  war  stories,  and  connect  with  the  AIVF  com- 
munity across  the  country.  Visit  the  salons  section  at 
www.aivf.org  for  more  info.  Be  sure  to  contact  your 
local  Salon  Leader  to  confirm  date,  time,  and  loca- 
tion of  the  next  meeting! 

Albany,  NY: 

When:  First  Wed.  of  each  month,  6:30  pm 

Where:  Borders  Books  &  Music,  Wolf  Rd. 

Contact:  Mike  Camoin  (518)  489-2083; 

mike@videosforchange.com 

Austin,  TX: 

Contact:  Anne  del  Castillo,  (512)  502-8104; 
labc@att.net 

Atlanta,  GA: 

When:  Second  Tuesday  of  the  month,  7  pm 
Where:  Redlight  Cafe,  553  Amsterdam  Avenue 
Contact:  Mark  Wynns,  IMAGE,  (404)  352-4225 
x.  12;  mark@imagefv.org 

Birmingham,  AL: 

Contact:  John  Richardson, 
johnwr@mindspring.com 

Boulder,  CO: 

Monthly  activist  screenings: 

When:  Second  Thursday  of  the  month,  7  pm 

Where:  Rocky  Mountain  Peace  and  Justice 

Center,  1520  Euclid  Ave. 

Contact:  Jon  Stout,  (303)  442-8445; 

programming@fstv.org 


Boston,  MA: 

Contact:  Fred  Simon,  (508)  528-7279; 
FSimon@aol.com 

Charleston,  SC: 

When:  Last  Thursday  of  each  month  6:30-8:45  pm 

Where:  Charleston  County  Library  Auditorium, 

68  Calhoun  St. 

Contact:  Peter  Paolini,  (843)  805-6841; 

filmsalon@aol.com 

Cleveland,  OH: 

Contact:  Annetta  Marion  and  Bernadette 
Gillota  at  the  Ohio  Independent  Film  Festival 
(216)  781-1755;  OhioIndieFilmFest@juno.com 

Dallas,  TX: 

Contact:  Bart  Weiss,  (214)  999-8999; 
bart@videofest.org 

Lincoln,  NE: 

When:  Second  Wednesday  of  the  month,  5:30  pm 

Where:  Telepro,  1844  N.  Street 

Contact:  Dorothy  Booraem,  (402)  476-5422; 

dot@inetnebr.com;  www.lincolnne.com/nonproflt/ 

nifp/ 

Los  Angeles,  CA: 

When:  Third  monday  of  every  month,  (starting 

March  19)  at  8:00  pm 

Where:  EZTV-  Santa  Monica 

Contact:  Michael  Masucci,  (310)  829-3389; 

mmasucci@aol.com 

Milwaukee,  WI: 

When:  First  Wednesday  of  the  month 


Contact:  Brooke  Maroldi,  (414)  276-8563; 
www.mifs.org/salon 

New  Brunswick,  NJ: 

Contact:  Allen  Chou,  (732)  321-0711; 

allen@passionriver.com;  www.passionriver.com 

Palm  Beach,  FL: 

Contact:  Dominic  Giannetti,  (877)  378-2029; 
dgproductions@hotmail.com 

Portland,  OR: 

Contact:  Beth  Harrington,  (360)  256-6254; 
betuccia@aol.com 

Rochester,  NY: 

Contact:  Kate  Kressman-Kehoe,  (716)  244- 
8629;  ksk@netacc.net 

San  Diego,  CA: 

Contact:  Paul  Espinosa,  (619)  284-9811; 
espinosa@electriciti.com 

Tucson,  AZ: 

Contact:  Heidi  Noel  Brozek,  bridge@theriver. 
com;  Rosarie  Salerno,  destiny@azstarnet.com; 
http://access.tucson.org/aivf/ 

Washington,  DC: 

Contact:  DC  Salon  hotline  (202)  554-3263  x.  4; 
jatvelez@hotmail.com 

AIVF  has  resources  to  assist  enthusiastic  and 
committed  members  who  wish  to  start  a  salon  in 
their  own  community.  Please  call  (212)  807- 
1400  x.  236,  or  e-mail  member s@  aivf.org  for 
information. 


The  19th  los  Angeles  Gay  &  Lesbian  Film  Festival 
july  12-23,  200i 

film  and  video  submission  deadline:  March  31,  2001 

screenuntlng  competition  submission  deadline:  npnl  28,  2001 

corporate  sponsorship  opportunities:  scott  Meckllng  323-960-2385 

323-960-9200   outfest@outfest.org   yuy.outfest.org 


STUDIO     4  J 


►  Video  for  Art's  Sake 


a     <  >      ►► 


T+F:  1212]  254-1 106   ]  6:  studio4|@mindsprmg,com 


V_ 


Discreet  logic's 

edifplus 

Combustion* 
After  Effects 


DVCAM,  MiniDV,  Beta-SP, 
3/4",   S-VHS,   Hi8 


Create*  i*v  the- c&trt/brt 

ofa/prCwU&  edit  nute< 

Meg-  Hcuxley,  Editor 


Phccjfat  tile  IrtJcf/crtJcni 

Independent  Post  Production 
In  the  East  Village 


March   2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      63 


t'SfffiT-jTS^^H^^) 


By   Jim    Colvill 


n  New  Year's 
Eve  2000,  as 
many  pre- 
pared to 
celebrate 
the  new  year, 
New  Mexico 
based  filmmaker 
Daniel  Kaven  entered  the 
second  phase  of  production 
on  his  unusual  documentary 
The  Glass  Pool  Incident. 
The  first  phase  of  production 
occurred  exactly  a  year 
before  at  the  turn  of  the  mil- 
lennium and  involved  sever- 
al different  subjects  being 
filmed  in  several  different  locations,  such 
as  New  York,  Los  Angeles,  Berlin,  Tokyo, 
and  Sydney.  This  widely  disparate  group 
which  included  a  gay  sailor,  a  German 
video  artist,  a  rapper,  and  a  small-time 
coke  dealer,  all  gathered  at  the  turn  of 
2001  at  the  Glass  Pool  Inn  in  Las  Vegas  for 
a  New  Year's  Eve  party  and  screening  of 
some  of  the  footage  from  a  year.  Kaven  is 
now  tackling  the  daunting  task  of  editing 
100  hours  of  footage  down  to  100  minutes 
and  is  seeking  distribution.  Daniel  Kaven, 
(505)  262-9660;  entropix@yahoo.com 

Director  Donal  O'Ceilleachair's  6-part 
documentary,  Cuzco:  Chronicle  of  a  City 
at  the  End  of  the  Century,  also  examines 
a  particular  time  and  place  at  the  turn  of 
the  millennium.  The  location  is  the 
ancient  city  of  Cuzco,  capital  of  the  Incas 
in  the  Andes  highlands  of  Peru.  The  film 
chronicles  how  thousands  descended  on 
Cuzco  to  commemorate  the  millennium 
(New  Year's  Eve  1999),  amongst  them 
mystics  and  new  agers  destined  for  one  of 
the  world's  meditational  power  points, 
Machu  Picchu.  The  extensive  shoot  pro- 
duced 76  hours  of  source  material,  which 
includes  over  130  interviews  with  both 
native  Cuzquenians  and  foreign  visitors. 
The  film  provides  a  mosaic  of  the  city  and 
its  inhabitants  through  these  portraits  of 
different  characters  of  all  ages,   beliefs, 

64    THE    INDEPENDENT     March  2001 


backgrounds,  professions  and  nationali- 
ties Donal  O'Ceilleachair,  c/o  Fair  Isle 
Films,  32  Union  Square  East,  Ste.  #816 
North,  New  York,  NY  10003;  (212)  228- 
5838;  cuzcol999@hotmail.com 

Writer/Director  Lance  Peverley's  new 
film  Tilt  is  an  adaptation  of  Cervantes' 


Don  Quixote  with  a  difference.  The  film  is 
told  from  the  perspective  of  a  Sancho 
Panza-like  character,  Sam  Penzer,  who  is  a 
recently  unemployed  salesman  attempt- 
ing to  get  home  to  suburbia.  He  is,  how- 
ever, stranded  downtown  having  lost  his 
wallet  duting  a  transit  strike.  While  look- 
ing for  a  phone,  he  encounters  a  mental- 
ly ill  man  who  believes  he  is  a  knight,  and 
the  pair  embark  on  a  night  journey 
through  the  city's  mean  streets.  The  film 
was  shot  and  is  set  in  Vancouver,  and 
numerous  members  of  the  crew,  as  well  as 
the  cast,  are  X-Files  alumni.  Tilt  is  cur- 
rently in  postproduction  and  Starstruck 
Productions  is  raising  funds  so  the  movie 
can  tour  the  festival  circuit.  Contact: 
Holly  Catinci  (604)  737-4776  or  Tiffany 
Chester  (604)  737-2556;  tilt@hollyword- 
spublicity.com 

Filmmaker  Bill  Buchanan,  whose  first 
taste  of  working  in  film  was  an  internship 
with  Sidney  Lumet,  describes  his  docu- 
mentary Geeks,  S7teaks  and  Chicken 
Cheeks  as  "the  definitive  guide  to  the 
truly  weirdest  jobs  on  the  planet." 
Through  the  course  of  the  film  Buchanan 
interviews  a  "chick  sexer,"  an  animal  psy- 
chic, some  repo  men,  and  some  phone  sex 
operators  among  others,  examining 
exactly  what  their  jobs  entail,  as  well  as 
their  personal  feelings  about  these  occu- 


pations. The  director  was  keen  to  avoid 
demeaning  his  subjects:  "In  fact,  that 
these  people  enjoy  their  work  and  seem 
satisfied  at  the  end  of  the  day  is  remark- 
able and  made  filming  this  project  an 
instructive,  inspirational  experience,"  he 
says.  Buchanan  is  already  in  production 
on  a  sequel  to 
Geeks,  which  will 
uncover  more 

strange  and  un- 
pleasant jobs  that 
you  probably  never 
knew  existed.  Bu- 
chanan Film  Com- 
pany, 6939  Lyre 
Lane,  Dallas,  TX 
75214;  (214)  828- 
9696. 

Seven  years  in 
the  making,  Hand 
Game,  a  documen- 
tary   from    award- 


Willy  Running  Crane  (I)  and  Earl  Old  Person, 
two  Blackfeet  stick  players,  are  interviewed  in  the 
documentary  Hand  Game. 


winning  Portland-based  director  and  his- 
torian Lawrence  Johnson,  looks  at  a 
team-based  gambling  game  popular 
throughout  Native  American  cultures. 
The  film,  which  opened  the  25th  annual 
American  Indian  Film  Festival  last 
November,  chronicles  how  every  year 
thousands  of  Native  Americans  hit  the 
"hand  game  trail"  competing  in  games  on 
reservations  throughout  the  west.  Even 
though  churches  and  courts  have  contin- 
ually attempted  to  supptess  the  game,  it 
has  remained  a  widespread  phenomenon 
for  many  years.  Native  historian  George 
Price  says  of  Hand  Game  that  "it  is  one  of 
the  rare  documentaries  that  uses  native 
voices  exclusively  without  filtering  the 
information  through  non-Indian  academ- 
ic interpreters.  This  gives  the  viewers  an 
experience  much  like  going  directly  to  the 
source — the  indigenous  cultural  practi- 
tioners— and  seeing  the  culture  for  them- 
selves." Contact:  Larry  Johnson  at  (503) 
294-1019;  ljp@teleport.com 


AIVF  Members:  Send  info  on  works  in  progress 
or  recently  completed  works  to:  In  &  Out,  The 
Independent,  304  Hudson  St.,  6th  fl.,  New  York, 
NY  10013;  intern@aivf.org 


WRITE  *  DIRECT  •  SHOOT  *  EDIT 


^'  '*    If* 


■J^ 


YOUR  OWN  SHORT  FILMS  IN  OUR  HANDS-ON 
INTENSIVE  1  YEAR,  4,  6,  OR  8  WEEK  TOTAL  IMMERSION 
WORKSHOPS  FOR  INDIVIDUALS  WITH  LITTLE  OR  NO 
PRIOR  FILM  MAKING  EXPERIENCE.  WORK  WITH  16MM 
ARRIFLEX  CAMERAS  IN  SMALL  CLASSES  DESIGNED 
AND  TAUGHT  BY  AWARD-WINNING  INSTRUCTORS. 
WORKSHOPS  START  THE  FIRST  MONDAY  OF  EACH  MONTH 
TUITION  STARTS  AT  $4,000.  "CARPE  DIEM" 


NEW  YORK  FILM  ACADEMY  -  new  york  city 
UNIVERSAL  STUDIOS  -  los  angeles,  California* 
DISNEY-MGM  STUDIOS  -  Florida* 
PRINCETON  UNIVERSITY  -  Princeton,  nj* 
HARVARD  FACULTY  CLUB  -  Cambridge,  mass.* 
PARIS,  FRANCE  -  French  national  film  school* 
CAMBRIDGE  UNIVERSITY  -  Cambridge,  England* 
KING'S  COLLEGE  -  London,  England* 


'SUMMER  ONLY 


All  workshops  are  solely  owned  and  operated 

by  the  New  York  Film  Academy  and  not  affiliated 

with  Universal  Studios  or  Disney-MGM  studios 


new  yccr  film  ACAccMr 

100  East  17th  Street,  NYC  10003  •  tel:  212-674-4300  •  fax:  212-477-1414  •  web:  www.nyfa.com  •  email:  film@nyfa.com 


A  S  S  D  C  I  A  T  I  D  N      OF      INDEPENDENT      VIDEO      AND      FILMMAKERS 


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thanks      t  a 

all      those      who 

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aivf's      vision      ! 

Campaign  Design:  Nik  Ives    Photos:  Tom  LeGoff 


TOTALLY  INDEPENDENT 


www.aivf.org 


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Micro-distributors 
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Waking  Life 


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A  Century  of  Images 
A  Century  of  Sounds 

Select  from  the  greatest  sources  on  the  planet! 

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Famous 

Director:  Griffin  Dunne 

Cinematographer:  William  Rexer  II 

Editor:  Nancy  Baker 


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Series  7:  The  Contenders 

Director:  Daniel  Minahan 

Cinematographer:  Randy  Drummond 

Editor:  Malcolm  Jamieson 


Pie  In  The  Sky:  The  Brigid  Berlin  Story 

Director:  Vincent  Fremont  &  Shelly  Dunn  Fremont 

Cinematographer:  Victor  Losic 

Editor:  Michael  Levine 


My  Generation 

Director:  Barbara  Kopple 

Cinematographer:  Tom  Hurwitz 

Editor:  Tom  Haneke 


Off  The  Lip 

Director:  Robert  Mickelson 

Cinematographer:  Joey  Forsyte 

Editor:  Peregrine  Beckman 


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Publisher:  Elizabeth  Peters 

Editor  in  Chief:  Patricia  Thomson 
leditor@aivf.orgl 

Managing  Editor:  Paul  Power,  Richard  Baimbridge 
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Assistant  Editor:  Scott  Castle 
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Interns:  Jim  Colvill,  Dan  Steinhart 

Contributing  Editors:  Richard  Baimbridge,  Lissa  Gibbs, 
Cara  Mertes,  Robert  L.  Seigel,  Esq. 

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POSTMASTER:  Send  address  changes  to:  ' 
The  Independent  Film  &  Video  Monthly,  304  Hudson  St.,  6  ft,  NY,  NY  10013. 

The  Independent  Film  &  Video  Monthly  (ISSN  0731-5198)  is  published  monthly 
except  February  and  September  by  the  Foundation  for  Independent  Video  and  Film 
(FIVF),  a  tax-exempt  educational  foundation  dedicated  to  the  advancement  of  media 
arts  and  artists.  Subscription  to  the  magazine  is  included  in  annual  membership  dues 
($55/yr  individual:  $3 5/yr  student;  $  1 00/yr  nonprofit/school;  $150/yr  business/ 
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Library  subscriptions  are  $75/yr.  Contact  AIVF,  304  Hudson  St.,  6  ft,  NY,  NY  10013, 
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^P0  Publication  of  The  Independent  is  made  possible  in  part  with 
.  /!*Tf.  i  public  funds  from  the  New  York  State  Council  on  the  Arts,  a  state 
!"?r."'.i!     agency,  and  the  National  Endowment  for  the  Arts,  a  federal  agency. 


Publication  of  any  advertisement  in  The  Independent  does  not  constitute  an 
endorsement.  AIVF/FIVF  are  not  responsible  for  any  claims  made  in  an  ad.  Letters  to 
The  Independent  should  be  addressed  to  the  editor  tetters  may  be  edited  for  length. 
All  contents  are  copyright  of  the  Foundation  for  Independent  Video  and  Film,  Inc. 
Reprints  require  written  permission  and  acknowledgement  of  the  article's  previous 
appearance  in  The  Independent  The  Independent  is  indexed  in  the  Alternative 
Press  Index  and  is  a  member  of  the  Independent  Press  Association. 

©  Foundation  for  Independent  Video  &  Film,  Inc.  2001 
AIVF/FIVF  staff:  Elizabeth  Peters,  executive  director;  Alexander  Spencer,  administra- 
tive director;  Michelle  Coe,  program  director;  James  Israel  &  Moikgantsi  Kgama- 
Gates,  information  services  assistants;  Greg  Gilpatrick  &  Joshua  Sanchez,  web  con- 
sultants; Anne  Hubbell,  development  associate;  Noriko  Yoshinaga,  intern;  AIVF/FIVF 
legal  counsel  Robert  I.  Freedman,  Esq  Cowan,  DeBaets,  Abrahams  &  Sheppard. 

Visit  The  Independent  online  at:  www.aivf.org 

AIVF/FIVF  Board  of  Directors:  Angela  Alston,  Doug  Block,  Paul  Espmosa  (treasurer), 
Dee  Dee  Halleck,  Vivian  Kleiman.  Lee  Lew-Lee  (secretary),  Jim  McKay  (co-chair), 
Robb  Moss  (president),  Elizabeth  Peters  (ex  officio),  James  Schamus*,  Valerie  Soe 
(vice  president),  Ellen  Spiro,  Bart  Weiss  (co-chair),  Debra  Zimmerman* 
*FIVF  Board  of  Directors  only. 


31  Micro-distributors  up  close 

Taking  a  lead  from  small  record  labels  and  DIY 
filmmakers,  a  new  breed  of  micro -distributor  is  on 
the  rise.  Here's  a  look  at  three. 

Brian  Frye 


34  Testing  the  Limits:  HD24p 

Brad  Anderson's  Session  9  was  shot  using  Sony's 
revolutionary   High    Definition   24p   camera,    the 
CineAlta.  The  director  and  his  cinematographer, 
Uta  Briesewitz,  assess  the  experience. 

by  Patricia  Thomson 


2    THE    INDEPENDENT     April  2001 


Upfront 

7  News 

Landmark  Theatres  in  Texas 
finds  a  place  for  a  local  son's 
shorts;  reading  the  fine  print 
for  AFI's  Sony  DVCam  Fest. 

by  Cynthia  Hand 
Neely;  Scott  Castle 


FAQ  &  Info 

42  Distributor  FAQ 

The  Brothers  Lipsky  bring 
their  considerable  expertise 
in  new  media  and  traditional 
distribution  to  bear  on  their 
new  venture,  Lot  47  Films. 

BY    LlSSA    GlBBS 


11  Wired  Blue  Yonder      46  Funder  FAQ 


Proprietary  software  finds  its 
soulmate  in  Richard  Linklater's 
animated  Waking  Life;  three 
new  media  spaces  open  in  New 
York  City. 

by  Brian  Poyser; 
Joy  Dietrich 

14  Festival  Circuit 

Open  arms  for  digital  video 
at  IFFCON;  a  report  from 
Sundance  2001:  the  vibe,  the 
films,  the  online  festival,  and 
the  Lab  films. 

by  Michael  Fox; 
Richard  Baimbridge, 
Karen  Voss  & 
Patricia  Thomson 


Departments 

22  Field  Reports: 
Buffalo,  New  York 

Micro  films  and  public  access 
TV,  plus  a  look  at  the  numbers. 

by  Ghen  Dennis, 
Stephanie  Gray,  Carl 
Mrozek 

38  Technology 

A  review  of  the  CineAlta, 
Sony's  High  Definition  24p 
camera. 

by  Robert  M.  Goodman 


40  Books 

Movie  Wars,  by  Jonathan 
Rosenbaum;  The  Biz,  by 
Schuyler  M.  Moore. 

by  Robert  Nelson; 
Innes  Guminsky 


NewMarket  Capital  has  a 
history  of  financing  indepen- 
dent films,  and  this  spring 
started  distributing  them  as 
well,  beginning  with  Memento. 

by  Michelle  Coe 

48  Festivals 
54  Notices 
58  Classifieds 


@AIVF 

60  Events 
63  Salons 


COVER:  Actor  and 
cowriter  Steve  Gevedon 
in  Brad  Anderson's 
Session  9.  Photo: 
Claire  Folger.  courtesy 
USAFilms. 


April   2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      3 


JVC  shoots, 
akers  create. 

idaries  of  film  witKfWk  new  Cineline. 


Imagine  neMPbeing  held  back  again.  Imagine  the  power  to  push 

the  creative  possibilities  higher. .  .and  the  freedom  from  economic 

constraints  that  have  kept  your  dream  projects  on  the  ground.  With 

JVC's  new  digital  CineLine  D-9  and  MiniDV  PAL  or  NTSC  products, 

these  filmmaker  fantasies  are  now  reality. 

f 

:  Simon  Capet,  director  of  Vancouver  International  Film  Festival 

winner  "Evirati,"  who  chose  D-9. 

"JVC's  digital  solutions  give  filmmakers  tremendous  new  opportuni- 
ties, both  creatively  and  practically,"  says  Capet,  who  cites  several 
advantages  to  shooting  his  lush,  historical  piece  exclusively  on  JVC's 
D-9.  "We  wanted  to  capture  the  natural  lighting  of  the  1 8th  Century. 
Some  scenes  were  lit  entirely  by  candles— that  would  have  been  very 
grainy  on  film."  Economically,  D-9  allowed  Capet^tb  excel  as  well. 
"Given  my  20:1  shoot  ratio,  the  cost  of  film  stock  would  have  been 
S40,00u-S50,000.  We  spent  S800  on  tape.  That  allowed  us  to  put 

OL  i  It- 


more  of  the  budget  where  it  counts- 
and  other  equipment." 


actors,  music,  wardrobe 


For  economy  and  portability,  JVC  introduces  Cineu 
most  powerful  MiniDV  camcorder.  Featuring  2/3"  native  16:9  CCDs — 
unprecedented  in  its  class — this  lightweight,  portable  camcorder 
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The  power  to  take  you  further. 

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Support 

the  organization  that 
supports  you. 

Since  1973,  the  Association  of  Independent 

Video  and  Filmmakers  has  worked  tirelessly  to 
support  independent  vision — and  we're  still  going  at  it! 

From  leading  the  movement  to  establish  the 
Independent  Television  Service  (ITVS)  to  working  with 
SAG  to  draft  their  limited  exhibition  agreement  for  indie 
producers,  AlVF's  achievements  have  preserved 
opportunities  for  producers  working  outside  the 
mainstream.  AIVF  Programs  and  Regional  Salons 
share  valuable  resources  and  create  community. 
Our  Festival,  Exhibitor,  and  Distribution  Guides  are 
considered  "bibles"  to  the  field.  And  each  issue  of 
The  Independent  Film  and  Video  Monthly 
magazine  is  bursting  with  unique  reportage, 
indispensible  information,  and  essential  listings. 

In  this  time  of  increasing  corporatization  of  media, 
it's  imperative  that  independents  stand  together  to 
preserve  our  autonomy.  For  just  $55/yr.  add  your 
voice  to  ours,  and  take  advantage  of  AIVF  member 
benefits  including  scores  of  national  trade  discounts 
and  access  to  group  insurance  plans. 

visit  us  at  www.aivf.org 

or  call  212/  807-1400 


TOTALLY 


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601  Component  Digital  Online  .  Voiceover,  ADR  and  Foley  . 
2D/3D  Design  and  Effects.  Creative  AVID  Offine  &  Online  . 
Film-to-Tape  Transfer  .  Motion  Control  .  DVD  Authoring  . 
Standards  Conversion  .  All  Services  NTSC  and  PAL  . 


HIGH  DEFINITION  POST  PRODUCTION 

2020  North  14th  Street,  Arlington,  VA  22201 
Tel:  703-525-7000,  www.rolandhouse.com 


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A  Landmark  Event 

Houston  Filmmaker 's  Mini-Docs  Pkry  in  Texas  Landmark  Theatres 

by  Cynthia  Hand  Neely 


AS  ANYBODY  IN  TEXAS  WILL  GLADLY  TELL 
you,  the  Lone  Star  State  is  big.  Real  big. 
One  Houston  filmmaker,  however,  is  mak- 
ing his  mark  by  producing  small. 

Cinematographer  Gary  L.  Watson  is 
using  local  filmmaking  and  local  story- 
telling to  get  past  the  seemingly  insur- 
mountable obstacles  that  have  kept  the 
work  of  short  filmmakers  out  of  commer- 
cial theaters  for  years.  In  collaboration 
with  Landmark  Theatres,  an  indepen- 
dent/foreign film  chain  with  theaters 
across  the  country,  Watson  is  running 
Lone  Stars,  a  series  of  1-2  minute  films  at 
Houston  and  Austin  Landmark  venues. 

The  idea  of  showcasing  local  people  in 
short  films  and  using  a  movie  theater  to 
reach  out  to  the  community  has  been  per- 
colating in  Watson's  head  for  about  25 
years.  Watson  began  his  career  as  a  TV 
news  cameraman  and  has  been  occupied 
with  producing  countless  commercials, 
documentaries,  and  corporate  programs, 
as  well  as  running  his  own  company, 
Roadster  Productions,  Inc.,  in  Houston. 
A  couple  of  years  ago,  that  idea  started  to 
become  a  reality. 

The  concept  for  Lone  Stars  is  to  make 
films  that  "celebrate  the  diversity  and  cre- 
ativity" of  real  hometown  people  like 
"artists,  performers,  social  activists,  and 
people  with  out-of-the-ordinary  voca- 
tions." His  compact  portraits  focus  on 
"people  who  are  rarely  seen,  but  enhance 
our  community,  lead  fascinating  and 
sometimes  curious  lives,  and  add  flavor 
and  color  to  the  city." 

In  1999,  not  quite  ready  to  pursue  his 
original  dream  of  moving  to  a  small  Texas 
town  and  renovating  an  old  theater, 
Watson  began  a  doubtful  search  for  a 
neighborhood  venue  willing  to  support  his 
idea.  When  he  met  Sarah  Gish,  then 
manager  of  Landmark's  Houston  theaters, 
he  found  a  kindred  spirit  and  a  sympa- 
thetic ear  for  his  cause.  If  Watson  would 
shoot  some  short  films  about  interesting 
local  personalities,  Gish,  who  was  already 
familiar  with  his  work,  pledged  to  support 
him  all  the  way. 


Texas  filmmaker  Gary  L.  Watson  created 
the  Lone  Stars  series  to  showcase  short 
films  about  local  people. 


Gish  eventually  sold  Landmark  on 
Watson's  idea,  and  Lone  Stars  had  its  first 
exhibition  venue.  According  to  Gish 
(who  has  since  left  Landmark  to  open 
Gish  Creative,  a  marketing  company  in 
Houston) ,  it  was  a  matter  of  perfect  tim- 
ing. "We  knew  we  wanted  to  interact  with 
the  [local  film]  community,  but  didn't 
know  exactly  where  to  start,"  she  recalls. 
"Landmark  is  very  supportive  of  filmmak- 
ers, but  unfortunately  it  doesn't  have 
expendable  income.  Still,  there  are  other 
things  we  can  offer."  Like  screen  time. 
Landmark  Houston  has  two  theaters, 
with  six  screens;  Austin's  Dobie  Theatre 
has  four  screens. 

For  his  pilot  project,  Watson  spotlight- 
ed Rebecca  Bass,  a  high  school  art  teacher 
who,  for  nine  years,  has  taught  a  class  on 
building  art  cars.  She  handpicks  students 
who  "need  a  boost,  who  may  not  be 
involved  [in  sports  or  other  school  activi- 
ties] and  would  benefit  from  inclusion  in 
a  group  project."  In  last  year's  Houston 
Art  Car  Competition,  their  entry  won  first 
prize  and  is  now  destined  for  a  British  Art 
Car  Museum.  The  cars  are  indeed  a  sight 
to  behold,  and  remarkably,  in  less  than 
two  minutes,  Watson  captured  the  story 
and  the  emotion  the  students  experience 
through  the  program. 


edited   by   RICHARD    BAIMBRIDGE 

Art  Cars  ran  the  entire  month  of  July  in 
Houston.  Austin's  first  showing  was  in 
January  2001.  Audience  response  cards 
were  overwhelmingly  positive.  Over  93% 
liked  the  idea  of  having  short  films  added 
to  the  film  program  and  94-3%  wanted 
specifically  to  see  more  Lone  Stars.  Two 
more  in  the  series  have  been  shown 
recently  in  Houston  and  will  also  be 
shown  in  Austin. 

Watson  self-funded  his  pilot  (each  film 
is  budgeted  at  about  $13,000),  but  a 
$5,000  grant  from  the  Texas  Filmmakers 
Production  Fund  was  an  enormous  boost. 
Southwest  Alternate  Media  Project 
(SWAMP),  a  media  arts  organization  in 
Houston  led  by  Mary  Lampe,  provided  a 
nonprofit  umbrella  for  Lone  Stars  through 
its  Sponsored  Projects/Administered 
Grants  program. 

Watson  feels  other  venues  for  the  Lone 
Stars  series  are  possible — perhaps  as  a 
local  PBS  broadcast,  or  as  part  of  an  on- 
line movie  site.  The  subject  of  each  film 
can  make  it  viable  in  different  venues. 
The  Art  Cars  film,  for  example,  aired  on 
the  Houston  Independent  School  District 
cable  channel. 

Watson's  initial  goal  is  to  make  this  a 
successful  series  in  Texas,  "But  once  I've 
proven  it  here,  I  think  it  will  have  value  in 
other  markets,"  he  says,  "and  I  hope  to  be 
able  to  work  with  filmmakers  in  other 
cities."  The  theory  behind  the  Lone  Stars 
concept  is  not  to  have  one  documentary 
shown  all  over  the  country,  but  to  have 
documentaries  tailor-made  for  their  own 
specific  communities.  "Some  advice  that 
was  given  to  me  a  few  years  ago,  when 
looking  for  opportunities  to  get  films 
made,  was  to  look  in  my  own  backyard, 
and  that's  what  I  did.  I  looked  in  my  own 
backyard  for  subject  matter,  funding,  and 
exhibition." 

For  now,  raising  money  to  produce 
more  micro -docs  is  Watson's  number  one 
priority,  but  he's  confident  he'll  be  suc- 
cessful. "I've  proven  that  this  is  a  viable, 
popular  project,"  he  says.  "And  I'm  excit- 
ed about  being  able  to  do  it  and  to  have 
Landmark's  participation." 

Cynthia  Hand  Neely  f(  'tynNeely@aol.com)  t.< 
a  Houston-based  freelance  writer/producer  and 
screenumter.  She  is  president  of  Women  tn  Film 

and  Television/Houston. 


\r.,l   2001     THE    INDEPENDENT      7 


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The  mission  of  the  Association  of  Independent  Video 
and  Filmmakers  (AIVF)  is  to  increase  the  creative 
and  professional  opportunities  for  independent  video- 
and  filmmakers  and  to  ensure  and  enhance  the  growth 
of  independent  media  by  providing  services,  advocacy, 
and  information.  In  these  ways,  AIVF  promotes 
diversity  and  democracy  in  the  communication  and 
expression  of  ideas  and  images. 

AIVF  Founding  Principles: 

1  The  Association  is  an  organization  of  and  for  independent 
video-  and  filmmakers. 

2  The  Association  encourages  excellence,  commitment 
and  independence;  it  stands  for  the  principle  that  video  an 
filmmaking  is  more  than  just  a  job,  that  it  goes  beyond 
economics  to  involve  the  expression  of  broad  human 
values. 

3  The  Association  works,  through  the  combined  efforts  of 
the  membership,  to  provide  practical,  informational,  and 
moral  support  for  independent  video-  and  filmmakers  and 
is  dedicated  to  ensuring  the  survival  and  providing  support 
for  the  continuing  growth  of  independent  video-  and 
filmmaking. 

4  The  Association  does  not  limit  its  support  to  one  genre, 
ideology,  or  aesthetic,  but  furthers  diversity  of  vision  in 
artistic  and  social  consciousness. 

5  The  Association  champions  independent  video  and  film 
as  valuable,  vital  expressions  of  our  culture,  and  is 
determined  to  open,  by  mutual  action,  pathways  toward 
exhibition  of  this  work  to  the  community  at  large. 


G^Ei) 


THE  NOT  SO  FINE  PRINT 

Entering  the  AFI  Sony  DVCam  Fest 

by  Scott  Castle 


AS  OBVIOUS  ADVICE 
goes,  "Read  some- 
thing carefully 
before  you  sign  it"  is 
up  there  with 
"Look  both  ways 
before  crossing  the 
street."  While  one 
can  attest  to  the 
inherent  wisdom  in 


"The  undersigned  agrees  that  if  the  tape 
hereby  submitted  is  selcted  for  television 
exhibition,  regardless  of  whether  or  not 
said  tape  is  selected  to  win  a  prize  award, 
Sony  and  AFI  retains  nonexclusive  rights  in 
perpetuity  for  all  markets  (including  but 
not  limited  to  internet  rights)" 

— Excerpt  from  AFI  DVCAM  Fest  entry  form 


such  statements,  they're  often  ignored. 
But  like  an  SUV  reversing  down  a  one- 
way street,  a  seemingly  innocuous  line  in 
a  lengthy  contract  can  hit  you  with  unex- 
pected consequences. 

Recently  the  American  Film  Institute 
in  conjunction  with  Sony  launched  the 
AFI  Sony  DVCam  Fest,  a  contest  in 
which  the  grand  prize  winner  receives 
$50,000  in  Sony  professional  equipment 
and  has  their  film  shown  at  the  AFI  festi- 
val and  at  NAB,  along  with  four  other 
category  winners.  But  a  closer  look  at  the 
"Rights  and  Clearances"  section  of  the 
entry  form  reveals  that  you  might  be  giv- 
ing up  more  than  you  bargained  for.  The 
form  states  that  "regardless  of  whether  or 
not  said  tape  is  selected  to  win  a  prize 
award,  Sony  and  AFI  retain  nonexclusive 
rights  in  perpetuity  for  all  markets." 

This  could  be  potentially  devastating 
for  any  film-  or  videomaker  who  had  plans 
to  sell  their  work  at  a  later  date.  After  he 
saw  the  entry  form,  filmmaker  Steve  Katz 
expressed  concern  over  unintentionally 
giving  up  the  rights  to  one's  film.  "I  imag- 
ine that  any  distributor  that  might  be 
interested  in  [our]  film  would  be  very  ner- 
vous that  a  rival  entertainment  company 
like    Sony   can   exploit    this    anyplace," 


explains  Katz.  "Whether  or  not  their 
intention  is  something  more  benign  and 
to  your  benefit — like  just  using  it  to  mar- 
ket the  piece — they  didn't  say  that.  It 
doesn't  say  marketing."  When  contacted 
by  The  Independent,  both  Sony  and  AFI 
declined  to  comment. 

"I'm  sure  [marketing]  is  what  they 
mean,"  offers  Michael  Tuckman,  Director 
of  Acquisitions  at  the  New  York-based 
distributor  The  Cinema  Guild,  "but 
unless  it's  spelled  out,  you  don't  want  to 
take  the  chance."  He  explains  that  a  bet- 
ter-worded agreement  would  contain 
stipulations  limiting  the  time  frame  and 
the  usage  of  the  film  to  clips.  An  option 
to  renew  the  contract  at  a  later  date  could 
also  be  included. 

"They  are  taking  a  potentially  very 
important  right  away  from  you,"  explains 
Jon  Gerrans  of  Strand  Distributing.  "If 
you  are  lucky  enough  to  find  a  distributor 
for  your  film,  they  are  probably  going  to 
demand  exclusivity,  a  requirement  that 
can  no  longer  be  met."  When  acquiring  a 
film,  Gerrans  asks  filmmakers  to  sign  an 
agreement  saying  the  rights  are  exclusive. 
This  is  to  protect  Strand  from  potential 
lawsuits  from  licensees  (e.g.,  a  broadcast- 
er) if  it's  discovered  that  the  film  was 
already  exhibited.  If  such  a  suit  occurs,  "I 
would  then  turn  around  and  sue  the  pro- 
ducer or  director  or  whomever  I  got  the 
rights  from,"  Gerrans  says. 

In  order  to  avoid  unwittingly  squander- 
ing the  rights  to  a  project,  make  certain 
you  read  everything  before  you  sign  it.  This 
particular  contest  exemplifies  a  contract 
that  takes  more  than  one  might  expect. 
Legal  terms  can  often  confuse  the  unini- 
tiated— for  instance,  those  who  may  not 
realize  that  perpetuity  means  forever. 
Reading  your  contract  carefully,  or  enlist- 
ing the  aid  of  a  lawyer  if  you  don't  under- 
stand something,  is  essential. 

"Once  you  sign  that  contract,  that's  it," 
reminds  Katz.  "They  have  a  legal  right  to 
use  that  film  forever  and  ever.  There's  no 
term  limits.  A  contract  is  a  contract." 

Scott  Castle  is  assistant  editor  of 
The  Independent. 


We  are  a  facility  specializing  in 
picture  and  audio  post  for  projects 
finished  on  film.  We  offer  full  audio 

services;  sound  design,  foley,  ADR 
and  mixing.  Film  editing  at  24  or  30 

fps  on  high  end  digital  non  linear 
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every  stage  of  your  project  Please 

contact  us  for  more  information. 


April   2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      9 


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D 


The  Revolution  Will  Be  Animated 

Is  Waking  Life  a  Wake -Up  Call 
for  Indie  Animators/ 

by    Bryan    Poyser 


After  its  well-received  premiere  at 
Sundance,  the  question  on  a  lot  of  peo- 
ple's minds  these  days  is:  Have  Austinites 
Richard  Linklater,  Tommy  Pallotta,  and 
Boh  Sabiston  touched  off  a  revolution  in 
independent  animation  with  their  new 
film  Waking  Life? 

The  answer  is  yes  and  no.  Yes, 
because  it's  the  first  independently 
produced,  fully  computer-animated 
feature  film  in  America,  and  there  will 
inevitably  be  a  second,  a  third,  and  so 
on.  And  no,  because  this  is  the  kind  of 
film  that  can  only  be  made  once.  All 
attempts  to  imitate  it  will  likely  fail, 
either  by  shying  away  from  its  collab- 
orative aesthetic  or  its  idea-driven 
narrative.  That  said,  while  we  wait  for 
the  imitation,  we  can  look  at  the  potential 
Waking  Life  has  for  inspiration. 

Linklater  is  once  again,  as  he  was  ten 
years  ago,  ahead  of  the  curve  of  indepen- 
dent filmmaking.  Slacker  touched  off  a 
wave  of  idiosyncratic  regional  filmmaking, 
sending  hundreds  of  young  people  into 
the  streets  to  make  films  about  themselves 
and  the  places  they  lived.  Waking  Life  may 
have  the  same  effect,  only  sending  those 
kids  to  their  desktops  instead  of  the 
streets,  inspiring  them  to  pour  their 
thoughts  into  animation  rather  than  live 
action.  If  anyone  needed  more  proof  that 
the  tools  of  the  digital  age  allow  individ- 
ual artists  to  compete  with  commercial 
Hollywood,  this  film  is  it.  Waking  Life's 
extremely  low-budget  beginnings  (shot  on 
DV  with  a  minimal  crew  and  mostly  non- 
actors)  have  been  covered  over  with  lay- 
ers of  sophisticated  artistry.  The  film  looks 
handmade,  not  cheap,  taking  2-D  anima- 
tion places  that  3-D  is  too  clunky  to  go. 

Sabiston's  homemade  software  pro- 
gram, nicknamed  "Rotoshop"  because  it's 
based  on  the  old  concept  of  rotoscoping, 
works  by  loading  DV  footage  onto  com- 
puters (Macintosh  G4s  in  this  case),  then 
tracing  over  the  footage   using  Wacom 


Stills  from  the  Rotoshopped 
Waking  Life,  Richard  Linklater's 
independent  animated  feature, 
which  debuted  at  Sundance. 


pads  and  pressure-sensi- 
tive pens.  An  interpola- 
tion function  allows  the 
computer  to  carry  the  animation  over 
several  frames,  following  the  natural 
motion  of  the  footage  and  freeing  the  ani- 
mator from  having  to  draw  each  frame 
separately.  There  is  also  a  layering  func- 
tion that  gives  the  animation  more  of  a 
3D  look  at  times. 

Sabiston's  software  was  utilitarian  from 
the  get-go.  He  originally  designed  it  to 
complete  a  project  for  an  MTV  contest. 
"I  really  was  just  planning  on  buying  a 
piece  of  software  that  would  let  you  scan 
footage  onto  the  computer  and  let  you 
trace  on  top  of  it  .  .  .  The  deadline  [for 
the  contest]  was  coming  up  fast,  and  I 
couldn't  find  the  software  to  do  what  I 
wanted,  and  so  I  decided  [designing]  it 
would  be  a  fun  computer  project  to  do," 
says  Sabiston,  a  graduate  of  the  M.I.T 
Media  Lab.  Once  work  began  on  the  far 
more  sophisticated  Waking  Life,  Sabiston 
still  kept  the  user  interface  as  simple  as 
possible,  intending  the  program  to  be  eas- 
ily used  by  people  who  are  first  and  fore- 
most artists,  not  computer  animators. 

Linklater,  Sabiston,  and  Pallotta  were 
interested  in  finding  people  who  could 
apply  principles  of  painting  and  illustra- 
tion to  a  time-based  medium  like  film, 


rather  than  recruiting  computer  whizzes. 
"There's  almost  a  compecition  among 
companies  like  Pixar  and  Dreamworks  to 
create  the  most  photo-realistic  computer 
animation  possible,"  says  Pallotta. 
"They're  obsessed  with  making  hair,  or 
blades  of  grass  look  perfectly  real,  but  in 
the  end  it  ends  up  being  more  artificial 
because  the  real  world  is  not 
about  perfect  pixelation — it's 
about  flaws.  We're  very  much  on 
the  opposite  extreme.  We're  look- 
ing for  individuality  and  expres- 
sionism. If  a  bus  goes  by  while 
we're  filming,  that's  great.  We 
want  background  noise  in  our 
animation." 

Keep  in  mind,  however,  that  this 
wasn't  a  low-budget  film  that 
came  out  of  nowhere.  Linklater  is 
an  established  indie  icon  and 
Sabiston  and  Pallotta,  an  Austin-based 
live-action  filmmaker,  have  had  their  fair 
share  of  success  on  the  festival  circuit 
with  shorts  like  Snack  and  Drink  and 
Roadhead.  Waking  Life  features  cameos  by 
Julie  Delpy,  Ethan  Hawke,  Steven 
Soderbergh,  and  Linklater  himself,  while 
companies  like  IFC  Productions  and 
Thousand  Words  were  behind  it  from  the 
beginning,  so  it  wasn't  exactly  a  built-in- 
the -basement  affair. 

But  take  a  look  at  the  tools:  prosumer- 
level  cameras  and  computers  that  are  eas- 
ily within  the  reach  of  an  independent 
filmmaker;  thousands  of  hours  rather 
than  millions  of  dollars  created  the  film's 
production  value.  The  31  animators  who 
worked  for  nearly  a  year  on  the  project 
were  paid  very  little  but  kept  coming  back 
because  of  their  love  of  the  project  and 
the  freedom  they  were  given  to  shape  the 
film.  With  advances  in  animation  soft- 
ware sure  to  come,  making  it  cheaper  and 
more  accessible  to  the  masses,  there  is 
sure  to  be  somewhat  of  a  democratizing 
effect — perhaps  not  unlike  the  DV  cam- 
era and  desktop  editing  revolution. 

"I  hope  we  see  more  independent  com- 
puter animation  films  coming  out  in  the 
next  few  years,"  says  Linklater.  "But  at 
this  stage,  it  isn't  an  easy  or  cheap  thine  to 
do.  Even  though  Wiifcny  Life  cost  signifi- 
cantly less  than  something  like  Toy  Story, 
it  would  still  be  hard  for  an  individual  to 
make.  Bob  was  years  ahead  of  everyone 
else  because  he's  been  working  on  this 


\r.,l   2001     THE    INDEPENDENT      11 


rf_*i  -^U±_ 


^D 


SUMMERS  ARE  INTENSE© NYU 


[project]  for  so  long  and  improving  the 
technology  as  he  goes." 

So  what  is  it  specifically  about 
Sabiston's  software  that  shows  so  much 
potential?  Since  the  film  was  already  shot 
and  edited  before  any  animation  began, 
the  software  could  be  considered  just 
another  postproduction  tool,  like  timing 
or  opticals  or  AfterEffects.  But  it's  a  tool 
that  completely  re -defined  the  film,  tak- 
ing it  out  of  its  humble  DV  beginnings 
and  bringing  it  into  a  world  of  imagina- 
tion. Computer-aided  rotoscoping  is  even 
showing  up  briefly  in  other  independent 
films,  like  Fisher  Stevens'  new  romantic 
comedy  Just  a  Kiss  and  Esther  Bell's 
underground  festival  favorite  Godass.  It's 
not  a  hard  effect  to  create,  and  the  con- 
cept of  drawing  over  previously  pho- 
tographed images  is  almost  as  old  as  film- 
making itself. 

Sabiston  is  considering  plans  to  release 
the  software  commercially,  possibly  post- 
ing it  on  a  website  to  be  downloaded  for  a 
fee.  Meanwhile,  everyone  from  film  stu- 
dents to  advertising  agencies  and  produc- 
tion companies  are  excited  by  Waking  Life. 
Which  brings  us  back  to  that  problem  of 
imitation.  The  most  egregious  example  to 
date  is  the  Earthlink  TV  ads  that  many 
mistakenly  attributed  to  Sabiston  &.  Co. 
The  producer  of  those  commercials  had 
initially  offered  the  Earthlink  job  to 
Sabiston  and  Pallotta,  who  declined,  since 
they  were  concentrating  on  finishing  the 
film,  but  a  series  of  ads  was  produced  any- 
way. Sabiston  considered  suing  the  pro- 
duction company,  but  lawyers  told  him  he 
had  a  weak  case  since  it  was  a  style  that 
was  copied,  and  not  the  actual  software 
that  had  been  stolen. 

Waking  Life's  standing- ovation  premiere 
at  Sundance  put  everyone  in  a  better 
mood,  however.  And  one  could  say  that 
the  animation  revolution  the  film  promis- 
es is  already  happening,  as  a  few  of  the 
animators  have  already  started  working 
on  their  own  animated  shorts,  inspired  by 
the  success  of  Waking  Life.  They'll  have  to 
find  another  place  to  work  on  their  pro- 
jects, though,  since  the  G4s  were  sold  to 
raise  enough  money  to  bring  all  the  ani- 
mators to  Sundance. 

Bryan  Poyser  co-founded  the  Cinematexas  Short 
Film  Festival  and  works  as  conference  coordina- 
tor for  SXSW.  His  newest  short,  Pleasureland, 
screened  at  the  New  York  Underground  and  Ann 


12    THE    INDEPENDENT     April  2001 


<^z 


5) 


Eye  Spy  a  New  Museum 

New  Media  Sees  a  Housing  Boom  in  New  York  City 


New  media  art  received  a  boost  of 
recognition  when  the  Whitney  Museum 
included  it  for  the  first  time  in  its  Biennial 
last  year.  Yet,  most  American  muse- 
ums have  still  been  slow  in  commit- 
ting curatorial  resources  to  electronic 
and  digital  arts  (the  notable  excep- 
tion being  Ohio's  Beecher  Center, 
which  opened  in  January  2000)  com- 
pared to  their  counterparts  in  Europe 
and  Japan.  But  if  New  York  City  is 
any  indication,  American  new  media 
may  finally  be  on  the  road  to  gaining 
both  the  respect  and  financing  it 
already  commands  overseas.  In  the 
past,  new  media  has  managed  to  get  expo- 
sure primarily  through  video/film  festivals 
and  "alternative"  spaces  like  New  York's 
Thundergulch,  but  as  of  this  year,  New 
York  will  boast  the  creation  of  three  new 
media  arts  museums,  where  there  was 
essentially  nothing  of  the  kind  before. 

By  far  the  most  ambitious  project  is  a 
90,000  square  foot  museum  from 
Eyebeam  Atelier  [www.eyebeam.org],  a 
SoHo -based  new  media  arts  organization. 
The  future  museum  will  be  located  on 
West  21st  Street  in  the  Chelsea  area  of 
Manhattan — the  hotbed  of  New  York's 
gallery  scene — and  is  scheduled  to  open 
in  2004/2005.  Meanwhile,  a  temporary 
exhibition  space  of  8,000  square  feet, 
carved  out  of  former  truck  bays,  opened 
as  a  preview  space  in  February.  In  addition 
to  the  traditional  repertoire  of  exhibition 
spaces,  gift  shop,  restaurant,  and  archives, 
the  future  museum  will  house  a  sizeable 
theater,  conceived  with  the  help  of  com- 
poser Philip  Glass,  as  well  as  production 
studios,  according  to  Angela  Molenaar, 
Eyebeam's  director  of  special  projects. 

Independent  filmmakers  should  take 
special  note,  because  the  production  stu- 
dios will  consist  of  a  moving  images  divi- 
sion, sound  studios,  and  other  depart- 
ments relevant  to  the  production  of  new 
media.  Filmmakers  seeking  low-cost 
means  to  add  special  effects  or  animation, 


by   Joy    Dietrich 

for  example,  can  submit  a  proposal  to 
Eyebeam,  and,  if  approved,  Eyebeam 
would  then  take  on  the  project  at  a  cost 


Viewer  participation  at  the 
Media  Z  Lounge  at  the  New 
Museum  of  Contemporary  Art 


far  below  that  of  standard 
commercial  postproduc- 
tion  facilities.  Coming  up 
with  the  financing  for  the  $40  million 
museum  will  be  no  small  challenge,  how- 
ever, at  a  time  when  the  economy,  and 
particularly  the  tech  industry,  are  show- 
ing signs  of  slowing  down.  Undaunted, 
Molenaar  says,  "There  will  be  no  real 
fund-raising  events  or  capital  raising  held, 
as  we  will  probably  float  a  bond  with  the 
city  of  New  York." 

As  for  government  funding,  Eyebeam 
can  be  sure  there  will  be  very  little.  The 
general  lack  of  public  funding  in  the  U.S. 
for  the  arts  has  been  a  sore  point  for 
many,  but  it  is  especially  so  in  the  field  of 
new  media.  "It's  definitely  easier  to  get 
government  funding  for  new  media  pro- 
jects in  Europe  [than  in  America],"  says 
Anne  Ellegood,  assistant  curator  of  the 
New  Museum  of  Contemporary  Art's 
Media  Z  Lounge  [www.newmuseum.org/ 
medialounge].  Germany's  ZKM, 
Canada's  Banff  Centre  for  the  Arts,  and 
Japan's  Intercommunication  Center  are 
well-supported,  and  have  been  around  for 
years,  whereas  "in  the  U.S.  we're  forced  to 
rely  on  private  donors  or  corporate  spon- 
sorships," Ellegood  says. 

Media  Z  Lounge  did  just  that.  The  first 
of  the  three  new  media  centers  to  open  its 
doors  last  November  in  SoHo,  small  but 


promising  Media  Z  has  corporate  muscle 
behind  it,  coming  from  Zenich  Electronics 
Company  (hence  the  "Z"  in  Media  Z). 
Though  the  basement  space  is  sleekly 
designed  by  the  celebrated  architectural 
firm  Lot/ek,  known  for  its  innovative  use 
of  industrial  objects,  at  times  the  space 
feels  somewhat  like  a  promotion  for 
Zenith  products.  At  least  the  products  are 
being  put  to  good  use,  however,  by  show- 
casing the  latest  digital  art,  experimental 
video  and  sound  works,  and  importantly, 
the  center  is  free  to  the  public.  Large, 
bright- orange  buoys  are  used  as  seats  to 
view  experimental  video  on  Zenith's  high- 
definition  and  flat-screen  TV  monitors. 
Steel-colored  egg-carton  foam  lines  the 
ceiling  to  absorb  noise  from  sound  works, 
such  as  Candice  Breitz's  Babel  Series,  the 
center's  debut  exhibition.  Web-based  pro- 
jects curated  by  the  center  in  conjunction 
with  new  media  organizations  such  as 
Rhizome.org,  Harvestworks 
and  the  Moving  Image  Gallery 
can  also  be  viewed  from  five 
computer  stations. 
The  New  York  Center  for 
Media  Arts  [www.nycmediaarts.org]  is 
the  third  newcomer,  making  its  debut  this 
May.  The  center  is  in  an  old  printing  fac- 
tory, nicknamed  the  Phun  (as  in  "Fun") 
Factory,  near  the  PS.  1  Museum  in 
Queens.  Backed  by  Korean  private 
investors  and  curated  by  Yong  Woo  Lee, 
NYCMA  hopes  to  attract  a  more  interna- 
tional crowd.  Besides  housing  the 
archives  of  Nam  June  Paik,  the  father  of 
video  art,  the  museum  will  also  offer  glob- 
al education  programs  in  new  media, 
coordinating  with  universities  from  Seoul 
to  Shanghai. 

NYCMA's  inaugural  exhibition  will  be 
centered  on  the  theme  "Electronic 
Maple"  (a  title  that  juxtaposes  the  inani- 
mate with  the  animate).  Invited  artists, 
including  Nam  June  Paik,  Japan's  Masaki 
Fujihata,  and  Diana  Thater  from  the  U.S., 
will  explore  a  discourse  of  nature  in  the 
language  of  the  digital.  And  you  can  be 
sure  that  it  will  double  as  a  house-warm- 
ing party  tor  an  art  form  that  has  been  our 
in  the  cold  far  roo  long. 

Joy  Dietrich  is  a  New  York-based  journalist 
and  filmmaker.  Her  first  short  film.  Surplus,  was 
shown  at  Raindance  Film  Festival  in  London  and 
Los  Angeles  Short  l~'ilm  Festival,  among  od 


\pnl    2001     THE    INDEPENDENT       13 


Embraceable  You 

Digital  Video  Finds  Open  Arms  at  IFFCON 


y   Michael   Fox 


If  the  Sundance  Film  Festival  is  a 
barometer  of  the  current  state  of  inde- 
pendent filmmaking,  the  annual  Inter- 
national Film  Financing  Conference 
(IFFCON),  held  the  previous  weekend  in 
San  Francisco,  offers  a  glimpse  into  the 
future.  A  mecca  for  projects  at  every 
stage  from  concept  to 
postproduction,  IFF- 
CON matches  60 
independent  U.S. 
producers  with  repre- 
sentatives from  the- 
atrical distributors, 
cable  networks,  and 
European  television 
broadcasters.  Many  of 
these  films  will  be 
completed  in  the  next 
12  to  24  months, 
amidst  a  period  of 
extraordinary  techno- 
logical flux.  Naturally, 
the  rapid  rise  of  digital 
video  was  a  favorite  dis- 
cussion topic  this  year, 
and  one  theme  emerged 
from  the  conjecture  and 
uncertainty:  Funders 
and  programmers  are 
now  embracing  the 
technology  that  film- 
makers have  been  push- 
ing the  last  few  years. 

"In    the    independent 
world,  we're  going  to  be 
mostly   digital   within   a 
few      years,"      declared 
Studionext  president  and 
CEO     Ira     Deutchman 
(Wayne  Wang's  Center  of 
the  World)  in  the  keynote 
discussion.     "Ten     years 
from  now,  everything  will 
be    digital."   Agreeing   in 
part,  producer  Mary  Jane 
Skalski    (Frank   Whaley's 
The  ]immy  Show)  respond- 
ed, "There's  no  reason  for 


DIGITAL  FEATURES 
AT  IFFCON  2001: 

Kelly  Anderson,  Every  Mother's  Son 

(DVC  Pro) 

Katie  Cadigan,  Looney  Tube  (HDTV) 

Liz  Garbus,  Waxter  Girls  (DV  Cam) 

Jeannette  Paulson  Hereniko,  Fire  in 

the  Womb  (mini  DV  to  35  mm) 

Silas  Howard,  By  Hook  or  by  Crook 

(mini  DV) 

Laurie  Kahn-Leavitt,  Tupperware: 

Earl  and  Brownies  Plastic  Empire 

(Beta  SP  or  DigiBeta) 

Nancy  Kelly,  Art  to  the  Rescue? 

(mini  DV) 

Grace  Lee,  The  Grace  Lee  Project 

(mini  DV) 

Jennifer  Maytorena  Taylor My 

Comrade  Yankee  (mini  DV) 

Jack  Mcdonald,  The  Glidermen  of 

Neptune  (Beta  SP) 

K  Louise  Middleton,  Glass 

(16:9  DV  Widescreen) 

Jesse  Moss,  Speedo  (mini  DV) 

Julia  Reichert,  A  Lion  in  the  House 

(mini  DV) 

Barbara  Rick,  In  Good  Conscience: 

Sister  Jeannine  Gramick's  Journey 

of  Faith  (mini  DV) 

Yvonne  Russo,  True  Whispers 
(Beta  SP) 

DanSatorius,LeJeuDeAfarse///es 
.theTarotCardofVarianFry 

(mini  DV) 

Scott  Saunders,  The  Technical 

Writer  (W  format  TBD) 

Yue-Qing  Yang,  Footbinding:  The 
Three  Inch  Golden  Lotus  (mini  DV) 
SabrinaZanella-Foresi.fre  of"  fAe 
Future  (16  mm  &  mini  DV) 


documentaries  to 
shoot  on  film  any- 
more." 

In      interviews 
throughout  the  week- 
end,   other   industry 
representatives  tend- 
ed   to    concur    with 
Skalski.    Lisa   Heller, 
HBOs    director    of 
documentary       and 
family  programming, 
reported,  "I  haven't 
been  in  a  situation 
where   a   small   for- 
mat would  prevent 
us  from  doing  what 
we     normally     do. 
And  I  can  think  of 
so       many      cases 
wThere  small-format 
has  allowed  a  film- 
maker to  capture  a 
story  with  a  level  of 
intimacy  and 

!    access  that 


would' ve  been  otherwise  impossible.  But 
in  the  end,  it's  about  story,  drama,  pathos, 
and  strong  characters." 

Mark  Fichlander,  Court  TV's  senior 
director  of  development  and  internation- 
al co -production,  described  how  things 
have  changed  since  his  years  at  National 
Geographic,    "If  it   wasn't   on   film,   we 


Top:  An  array  of  clips  from  recent  digitally 
shot  feature  films  was  presented  by  Next 
Wave's  Peter  Broderick. 

(I  to  r)  Film  Transit's  Jan  Rofekamp  meets 
with  filmmaker  Rob  Epstein  and  producer 
Michael  Ehrenzweig  at  IFFCON  2001. 


<?  v* 


weren't  interested.  Now  anything  goes. 
Especially  with  the  crime  and  justice 
genre,  there's  a  multitude  of  sources,"  he 
said,  noting  broadcasters'  willingness  to 
air  even  low-resolution  footage  shot  by 
surveillance  and  traffic-light  cameras. 
"People  make  allowances  for  a  wide  range 
of  visual  quality.  But  there's  an  annoyance 
factor  to  bad  audio,"  he  cautioned. 

"In  the  U.K.,  we're  slightly  behind  in 
this  area,"  conceded  Gayle  Oilman, 
Channel  4's  director  of  co-productions 
and  programming.  "Most  of  our  docs  are 
shot  on  DigiBeta."  Citing  the  rapid  adop- 
tion of  nonlinear  editing,  Gilman  sees  a 
similar  path  for  digital  production — and 
just  in  time.  "Ad  dollars  are  spread  among 
more  networks,  so  there's  less  money,  so 
budgets  are  being  driven  down,"  she  said. 

While  documentary  makers  have 
always  been  the  first  to  adopt  innovations 
such  as  lightweight  cameras  and  video- 
tape, feature  filmmakers  have  wasted  no 
time  in  joining  the  recent  stampede  to 
cost-effective  digital  video.  But  aesthetic 
considerations,  not  budget,  should  be  the 


14    THE    INDEPENDENT     April  2001 


determining  factors  in  ascertaining  which 
shooting  format  to  choose,  Deutchman 
said.  "Every  project  has  to  be  sized  up 
from  a  creative  standpoint."  Rebecca 
Wyndham,  senior  VP  of  production  of 
Film  Four's  American  division,  was  even 
more  strident.  "I  haven't  yet  been  pitched 
a  project  that  the  filmmaker  is  insisting 
on  doing  in  digital  video,  nor  have  I 
imposed  DV  on  someone  to  conform  to  a 
certain  budget.  I  won't  support  the  blan- 
ket idea  that  one  can  shoot  any  project 
[in  DV]  in  order  to  bring  the  budget 
down  and  get  it  made,  because  not  all 
content  lends  itself  to  that  medium." 

Peter  Broderick  of  Next  Wave  Films 
simultaneously  illustrated  the  range  of 
artistry  the  format  encourages  and  its 
acceptance  by  distributors  with  a  program 
of  clips  from  10  digitally  produced  fea- 
tures. The  fourth  Dogme  film,  The  King  Is 
Alive,  and  Mexican  master  Arturo 
Ripstein's  first  digital  film,  Such  As  Life, 
could  pass  for  film  and  will  have  no  prob- 
lem getting  distribution.  Pioneering  low- 
budget  American  indies  such  as  Boxes 
(bought  by  the  Independent  Film 
Channel)  and  Big  Monday  (an  urban  tale 
comprised  of  one  long,  extraordinarily 
mobile  take)  are  not  only  well-made  but 
utilize  the  technology  in  ways  that 
promise  a  reinvention  of  cinema  as  a  truly 
intimate  art  form. 

Guy  Stodel,  vice  president  of  acquisi- 
tions for  Lions  Gate  Films,  agrees  with 
HBO's  Heller  that  the  story  is  far  more 
important  than  the  look  of  the  film.  "The 
movie  has  to  play  and  have  a  hook.  In  the 
indie  arena,  you're  already  targeting  a 
sophisticated  audience,  so  they  wouldn't 
pooh-pooh  the  look  of  video  today." 
Deutchman  concurs.  "For  certain  kinds 
of  movies  there's  a  need  for  eye  candy, 
and  we  still  don't  have  the  ability  to  make 
something  as  beautiful  on  DV  as  on 
35mm.  But  people  are  willing  to  accept 
any  kind  of  image  as  long  as  it's  consistent 
from  scene  to  scene.  I  just  don't  think 
audiences  pay  as  much  attention  as  we'd 
like  to  believe  they  do."  That's  the  real 
bottom  line:  When  paying  customers 
accept  digital  video  without  blinking, 
then  distributors,  broadcasters,  and  pro- 
grammers won't  hesitate  to  bankroll  films 
made  with  the  format. 

Michael  Fox  is  a  San  Francisco 
journalist  and  film  critic. 


SON  VIDA  PICTURES 

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April   2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      15 


g^seees 


Indies:  1,  Hollywood:  0 

The  Sundance  Film  Festival  gets  back  to  basics 

with  a  year  of  outstanding  films  and  little  hype.  ..which 

makes  some  people  very  nervous. 


r .      I 


"It's  different  every  year,  and  yet  it's 
the  same,"  remarked  one  15 -year  veteran 
as  we  compared  notes  on  Sundance  2001. 
For  me,  however,  this  year's  Sundance 
Film  Festival  marked  a  significant  shift  in 
thinking,  with  more  focus  on  true  indie 
films  than  on  being  a  carnival  of  media 
chaos  or  a  Vegas-style  jackpot  for  distrib- 
utors and  filmmakers. 

Distributor  bids  were  remarkably  low 
compared  to  recent  years.  Todd  Field's  In. 
the  Bedroom  fetched  a  tepid  $1  million 
deal  from  Miramax  despite  its  festival 
buzz.  By  the  end  of  the  festival,  the  largest 
acquisition  was  David  Siegel's  The  Deep 
End  for  $4  million  from  Fox  Searchlight. 
Meanwhile,  this  was  the  first  year  that 
Sundance  featured  an  online  component 
[see  story  p.  19],  but  the  absence  of  dot- 
com hype  was  clearly  noticable.  One 
could  even  say  that  the  absence  of  any 
hype  was  clearly  noticable.  Part  of  that 
was  because  Park  City  instituted  a  ban  on 
outdoor  flyers  and  movie  posters,  slapping 
people  with  fines  if  they  were  caught  pass- 
ing out  propaganda,  so  at  times  it  was 
hard  to  tell  there  was  a  festival  happening 
at  all.  Added  to  that  was  the  fact  that 
Slamdance,  which  is  a  traditional  fixture 
on  Main  Street — the  very  heart  of 
Sundance — headed  high  into  the  hills  to 
a  bigger,  better  venue,  leaving  a  vacuous 
hole  in  its  former  place.  The  result  of  all 
this  being  that  Park  City  felt  like  a  ghost 
town  at  times,  causing  even  the  festival 
organizers  to  wonder  what  went  wrong. 

Yet,  according  to  both  Sundance  and 
Slamdance  figures,  theater  attendance 
has  never  been  higher.  And  in  my  three 


by   Richard   Baimbridge 

years  at  the  festival,  I  have 
never  seen  such  an  out- 
standing crop  of  films: 
John  Cameron  Mitchell's 
Hedwig  and  the  Angry  Inch, 
Michael  Cuesta's  L.I.E., 
Richard  Linklater's  Waking 


Lola  Cola  (left)  and  Robert  Eads  in  Kate  Davis' 
Southern  Comfort,  our  Transsexual  Cowboy  Love 
Story  Award  winner. 

Life,  and  Henry  Bean's  Dramatic  Grand 
Jury  Prize  winner  The  Believer  are  just  a 
few  examples.  And  they  are  films  that  get 
to  the  very  essence  of  what  Sundance  is 
all  about,  because  they  challenge  the  pre- 
cepts not  just  of  Hollywood,  but  of  society 
in  general. 

Then  there  were  the  docs:  Kate  Davis' 
Southern  Comfort,  Trembling  Before  G-d  by 
Sandi  Simcha  DuBowski,  Tom  Shepard's 
Scout's  Honor,  and  Dogtown  and  Z-Boys  by 
skateboard  legend  Stacy  Peralta.  The 
competition  among  documentary  direc- 
tors was  more  than  stiff  this  year,  it  was 
downright  fierce. 

Although  it  was  supposed  to  be  the 
year  of  African  American  films  at 
Sundance,  in  my  opinion  that  title  was 
usurped  by  films  with  gay- oriented 
themes.  Practically  everything  I  saw  had 
some  kind  of  gay  angle  to  it,  whether  it 
was  the  audience  award-winner  Hedwig  or 
Trembling.  The  annual  gay  and  lesbian 
brunch  seemed  almost  redundant  this 
year,  because  any  brunch  you  went  to  was 
gay.  This  had  to  be  the  first  year  Sundance 


ever  held  a  shabbat  dinner  hosted  by  a  gay 
rabbi.  It's  a  shame  I'm  primarily  hetero- 
sexual, because  I  was  so  inspired  that  I 
wanted  to  come  out  of  the  closet.  The 
unfortunate  thing  is  that  some  great 
African  American  films,  such  as  Vanessa 
Middleton's  30  Years  to  Life  and  Cheryl 
Dunye's  Stranger  Inside,  seemed  overshad- 
owed by  all  this  gay  pride.  One  notable 
exception  was  DeMane  Davis  and  Khari 
Streeter's  Lift,  which  succeeded  in  getting 
its  due  props  from  the  media. 

This  was  not  a  good  year,  however,  for 
Hollywood,  both  in  terms  of  finding  films 
that  will  make  a  lot  of  money  at  the  box 
office  (though  my  suspicion  is  that  Hedwig 
and  the  Angry  Inch  will  be  a  glowing 
exception)  and  also  for  celebrity/studio- 
backed  films.  Donnie  Darko  producer 
Drew  Barrymore,  Caveman  s  Valentine  star 
Samuel  Jackson,  and  even  the  mighty 
Mick  Jagger,  co-producer  of  Enigma,  all 
stood  on  the  sidelines  and  watched  their 
team  get  mauled  by  a  bunch  of  first-time 
film  directors  like  Hedwig  s  John  Cameron 
Mitchell  and  neophyte  actors  like  Believer 
star  Ryan  Gosling.  In  that  sense, 
Sundance  2001  was  a  proud  moment  for 
indie  film,  which  boldly  re-asserted  its 
reputation  for  excellence  and  controversy. 

On  that  note,  in  the  spirit  of  The 
Independents  Sundance  awards  list  that 
has  run  in  past  issues,  I  would  like  to  keep 
the  tradition  alive  by  providing  my  very 
own  awards  list.  So  here  goes: 

I've  come  to  accept  that  every  year 
there  is  a  film  that  I  think  is  a  total  bore, 
but  everyone  else  thinks  is  a  work  of 
genius.  Last  year  it  was  Ken  Lonergan's 
You  Can  Count  on  Me.  So  this  year's  You 
Can  Count  on  Me  Award  goes  to  Todd 
Field's  In  the  Bedroom.  If  you  liked  You 
Can  Count  on  Me,  you'll  probably  love  this 
film.  Personally,  I  was  sitting  in  the  audi- 
ence, thinking  to  myself,  "Any  kid  who 
wears  jeans  like  that  should  be  shot." 
Then  he  was.  Go  figure. 

Speaking  of  bad  fashion,  my  award  for 
Most  Misguided  Documentary  goes  to 
Startup.com,  a  film  filled  with  horrendous 
fashion.  To  me,  it  shows  a  generation  at  its 
worst  (and  I  don't  just  mean  clothing- 
wise)  .  I  nearly  lost  it  when  Kaleil  Tuzman, 
one  of  the  film's  main  subjects,  said  with  a 
straight  face  that  he  had  to  go  and  medi- 
tate on  whether  to  call  the  company 
"HailCaesar.com"  or  "GovWorks.com."  I 


16    THE    INDEPENDENT     April  2001 


mean,  hello?  Can  you  say  no-brainerl 
Chris  Hegedus,  who  co-directed  Startup.- 
com  withjehane  Noujaim  (and  previously 
The  War  Room,  a  renowned  doc  about  the 
Clinton  campaign,  with  husband  D.A. 
Pennebaker) ,  seems  to  be  extremely  mis- 
guided with  this  film.  "I  think  these 
young  people  had  a  lot  of  the  same  ideal- 
ism that  I  saw  early  on  in  the  Clinton 
campaign,"  she  told  me.  Christ!  I  hope 
not!  These  are  spoiled  kids  who  think 
they  deserve  to  be  overnight  billionaires 
for  coming  up  with  a  way  to  pay  parking 
tickets  online,  then  screw  their  friends 
and  investors  when  things  go  bad. 

My  award  for  Un-Indie  Spirit  this  year 
goes  to  Artisan,  who  copped  a  serious 
attitude  at  me  at  the  screening  of  the 


/*     •- 


fit 


4- 


Sandi  Simcha  DuBowski's  Trembling  before  G-d 

above  bad  film,  then  threatened  legal 
action  against  director  Marc  Levin  if  he 
showed  his  film  Brooklyn  Babylon  as  the 
opening  night  selection  at  Slamdance.  He 
did  it  anyway.  Nice  one!  See  you  in  jail, 
man.  And  this  from  the  company  that 
released  The  Cruise!  I  think  Speed 
Levitch  would  be  inclined  to  use  the  term 
"anti-cruise"  here. 

Speaking  of  Levitch,  who  makes  a 
cameo  in  Waking  Life,  I  give  him  Best 
Performance  by  a  Cartoon  Character.  I 
also  congratulate  Richard  Linklater  on 
not  only  providing  the  closest  thing  I've 
ever  had  to  an  acid  trip  without  being  on 
LSD,  thanks  to  his  trippy  animated  film 
Waking  Life,  but  also  with  Best  Promo 
Swag — the  Waking  Life  coloring  book, 
which  I  colored  in  for  days  whilst  suffer- 
ing from  influenza. 

The  Marc  Singer  (Dark  Days)  Award 
for  Dedication  is  shared  by  two  first-time 
directors,  Edet  Belzberg  and  Sandi 
Simcha  DuBowski.  Belzberg  delved  below 
the  streets  of  Bucharest  for  Children 
Underground,  a  jarring  documentary  on 
Romanian  street  children,  working  in 
nightmarish  conditions,  contracting  sca- 
bies, and  living  in  squalor  along  with  her 


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April   2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      17 


career  award: 

Barbara  Kopple 

tribute: 

Abbas  Kiarostami 

May  3-6,  2001 

I    Durham,  North  Carolina 


ddff  org   919  660  3699 


35th  New  York  EXPOsition  of 
Short  Film  and  Video 


UNDER    60    MINUTES 


Entry  Forms:  New  York  EXPO  , 
,    -"(212)505-7742  .  -  •, 

e-mail:  nyexpo@aol.corfj.-.:      •• 
www.nyexpo.org       , 

"...remains  a  great  place  to  get  drunk  on 
pithy,  vibrant  movies. "  —The  Vrllpge:  Voice 

;X  Festival:  November 2000C> v= 


Paul  Franklin  Dano  stars  as  a  disaffected  Long  Island  youth  in  Michael  Cuesta's  well-regarded  LIE. 


subjects.  Sandi  DuBowski's  Trembling 
Before  G-d  is,  likewise,  documentary  at  its 
best.  DuBowski  was  24  years  old  when  he 
began  his  project.  He  carried  a  camera 
around  the  world  for  five  years,  docu- 
menting gay  and  lesbian  orthodox  Jews, 
and  investigated  what  the  Torah  and  rab- 
bis have  to  say  about  homosexuality.  The 
result  will  hopefully  change  (and  perhaps 
even  save)  many  people's  lives. 

Best  Reason  for  Making  a  Film  goes 
to  Swedish  director  Lukas  Moodysson,  for 
Tillsammans  (Together).  Moodysson,  who 
previously  directed  Show  Me  Love  (aka 
Fucking  Amal),  said  he  made  Together 
because  he  wanted  to  make  a  movie 
"where  everyone  wore  beards."  Much 
more  than  that,  however,  Together  is  a 
hilarious  and  beautifully  poetic  film  about 
life  in  a  Swedish  commune  during  the 
early  seventies.  It  also  wins  my  award  for 
Most  Overlooked  Film  (as  foreign  films 
generally  are  at  Sundance)  and  shares 
Best  Soundtrack  with  Hedwig.  I  wrote 
"ABBA"  on  my  hand  and  left  it  there  for  a 
week  so  I  would  remember  to  pick  up  a 
CD  with  "S.O.S."  on  it. 

Which  brings  me  to  L.I.E.  and  a  first- 
rate  performance  by  15-year-old  Paul 
Franklin  Dano  as  a  youngster  growing  up 
in  a  suburb  off  the  Long  Island 
Expressway  who  adopts  a  pederast  named 
"Big  John"  as  a  father  figure.  This  is  the 
best  love  story  since  Verlaine  shot  his 
young  lover  Rimbaud  in  Belgium  in  1873. 
It's  Kids  meets  M;y  Own  Private  Idaho,  and 
it  wins  the  Chuck  and  Buck  Award  for 


Challenging  Cinema. 

Finally,    a   new   category:    the   Trans- 
sexual   Cowboy    Love    Story    Award, 

which  I  present  to  Southern  Comfort,  in 
memory  of  Robert  Eads.  A  truly  great  film 
that  went  straight  for  the  heart,  rather 
than  for  the  obvious  or  for  shock  value, 
Southern  Comfort  also  claimed  the 
Documentary  Grand  Jury  Prize  at 
Sundance,  and  will  be  screening  on  HBO 
in  November.  The  film  tells  the  story  of 
transgendered  people  living  in  Georgia 
and  their  struggles,  but  more  importantly, 
of  their  ability  to  love  and  help  one  anoth- 
er through  the  hardest  of  times. 

People  have  been  saying  for  years 
that  Sundance  has  sold  out — that  it's  no 
longer  "indie"  or  that  indie  film  itself  has 
gone  mainstream.  Well,  this  year  proved 
them  dead  wrong  on  ail  counts,  as  any  of 
the  above  films  bears  witness.  Whether  or 
not  the  festival  should  remain  in  Park 
City  is  a  matter  of  some  debate  (the 
Village  Voice  and  others  reported  that 
organizers  are  considering  moving  to  a 
new  location),  and  the  celebs  and 
paparazzi  may  come  and  go  depending  on 
the  vogue.  But  for  now,  anyway,  Sundance 
is  filling  a  vital  need  by  providing  a  venue 
for  some  of  the  best  filmmaking  in  the 
world,  be  it  independent  or  otherwise. 
And  for  that,  my  hat  is  off  to  them. 

Richard  Baimbridge  is  a  militant  socialist  and 

contributing  editor  at  The  Independent.  AH 

hate  mail  should  be  addressed  to  scott@aivf.org. 


18    THE    INDEPENDENT     April  2001 


Energizing  the  Independent  Vision 

The  Sundance  Online  Film  Festival 


Where  will  the  purest  independent 
vision  prevail?  Many  say  online,  with 
web-specific  projects.  Optimistically, 
even  romantically,  the  Sundance 
Institute  inaugurated  its  new  exhibition 
venue,  the  Sundance  Online  Film 
Festival  [www.sundanceonlinefilmfesti- 
val.org] ,  as  an  affirmation  of  this  belief. 
While  "independent  film"  may  be  an 
increasingly  commercialized  and  compli- 
cated category,  online  exhibition  gets  us 
back  to  the  single  artist,  a  computer,  and 
the  untainted  Idea. 

It's  a  compelling  scenario,  backlit  with 
all  kinds  of  contradictions.  The  physical 
Sundance  Film  Festival,  of  course,  is  the 
Nike  of  film  fests,  with  branding  power 
that  can  bulldoze  a  path  of  exposure  for 
the  meekest  of  entrants.  Extending  the 
power  to  the  digital  terrain  makes  perfect 
sense. 

In  fact,  two  featured  works  in  the 
online  festival,  Rocket  Pants  and  Freeware, 
made  online  exhibition  deals  with 
Sputnik7.com.  Atomfilms  and  IFILM 
were  actively  hovering  around  others  as 
the  physical  festival  drew  to  a  close. 
Some  pieces  in  the  festival  previously 
played  on  web  sites  like  PitchTV,  Mondo, 
and  Wild  Brain.  In  other  words,  can  the 
Sundance  Online  Film  Festival  become 
the  digital  marketplace  counterpart  to 
the  physical  festival,  which  as  we  all 
know  can  catapult  a  small  film  into  the 
big  time? 

As  entertainment  dot-coms  panic  and 
eat  their  young,  the  Sundance  platform 
for  online  exhibition  may  prove  to  be  just 
the  sort  of  safe  haven  digital  artistry 
needs  while  the  industry  settles  into  a 
viable  norm.  Available  for  viewing  only 
through  February  28,  the  original  idea 
was  to  extend  the  physical  festival's  halo 
with  online  exhibition.  One  "viewers' 
award"  was  announced  in  March. 

The  festival's  scope  and  goals  were 
ambitious.  In  Sundance  programmer  R.  J. 
Millard's  words,  the  online  festival 
sought  works  that  were  "web-specific, 
visionary,  with  an  authentic  voice  and 
individualized  storytelling  .  .  .  the  most 


BY     KA  REN     VOSS 

unique  projects  in  existence."  "Web-spe- 
cific" meant  the  work  had  to  exploit  artis- 
tic possibilities  uniquely  available  on  the 
Internet.  Otherwise,  Millard  explained,  it 
would  probably  be  a  regular  short  that 
belonged  in  the  shorts  competition. 

The  broadness  of  the  criteria  was  meant 
to  match  the  broadest  possible  indepen- 
dent vision.  They  received  over  300  sub- 
missions, subsequently  winnowed  down  to 
18.  These  fell  into  Live  Action,  Inter- 
active, and  Animation  categories.  The 
longest  project  ran  for  17  minutes  and  the 
shortest  for  two.  The  aesthetic  range  rep- 
resented in  the  group  got  you  right  to  the 
heart  of  the  war  over  online  film  form. 

On  the  one  hand,  you  had  visceral, 
potent  animation,  narrative  and  not.  The 
hauntingly  beautiful  binlOsex,  for  example, 
put  writhing  nudes  in  orb  spaces  to  express 
(as  stated  in  the  catalogue)  "both  the  ele- 
gant and  physical  reality  of  sex."  Maty 
Milos  followed  in  the  rich,  poetic  fable- 
making  of  Eastern  European  puppet  films. 
Qrime,  an  aesthetic  and  graphic  melange 
reminiscent  of  Pac  Man  and  Oskar 
Fischinger  put  to  jazz,  enthralled  with 
scrolling  Latin  and  malevolent  snowmen. 

Freeware  was  a  sexy,  super-amped  3-D 
CG  cyber-noir.  Gone  Bad,  Fishbar:  Violence 
of  the  Lambs,  Romanov:  Scarf  Mania, 
Rocketpants,  Julius  and  Friends,  and  Great 
Big  Cartoony  Club  Show  illustrated  the  full 
continuum  of  humor  and  computer- 
enabled  animation.  Put  these  together  and 
you've  got  the  definitive  primer  for  anima- 
tion software,  effects,  and  rendering. 

On  the  other  hand,  the  Interactive  cat- 
egory took  you  into  uncharted  territory. 
Amy  Talkington's  The  New  Arrival  uti- 
lizesd360-degree  immersive  technology. 
Your  computer  sucked  up  iVideo  Play 
enablers,  and  suddenly  you  were  in  an 
environment  you  could  rotate  on  a  360- 
degree  axis.  To  Talkington's  credit,  what 
you  might  assume  would  be  a  mini-block- 
buster space  was  deployed  for  something 
much  subtler,  craftier,  and  more  allusive. 

The  Crazy  Bloody  Female  Center  (by 
Nina  Menkes)  and  Masteries  and  Desire: 
Searching  the  Worlds  of  John  Rechy  (Marsha 


The  beleaguered  Little  Milosh  In 
Maly  Milos,  an  animated  entry  by 
Jakub  Pistecky. 


Kinder)  came 
out  of  the  pro- 
vocative, ex- 
perimental 
Labyrinth 
Project  at  the 
University  of 
Southern  Cal- 
ifornia. What 
was  available 
in  the  online 
fest  were  actu- 
ally 15-minute 
excerpts     from 

fully  interactive  CD-Roms.  Each  in  vary- 
ing ways  crafted  multiple  narrative  pas- 
sages, dense  image  poetry,  and,  it  was 
hoped,  wider  choices  in  viewing  and  par- 
ticipating in  story. 

Daddie,  in  filmmaker  OB.  Cooke's 
words,  was  a  "digital  fluid  painting."  He 
put  digital  stills  of  himself  angst-ridden  in 
a  continual  loop  under  a  heart-wrenching 
voiceover.  The  jerky,  tormented,  digital 
artifact-laden  effect  got  under  your  skin. 
Throwing  the  visual  and  aural  tracks  in 
different  but  poetic  directions  made  it 
painterly  in  a  specifically  digital  way. 

UntitledOOl:  Darkness  was  a  contempo- 
rary variation  of  the  group  games  the 
Surrealists  would  play  (specifically  the 
Exquisite  Corpse,  where  participants  would 
fold  a  paper  and  draw  one  part  of  a  figure 
without  seeing  anybody  else's  contribu- 
tion). A  high- end  digital  design  firm  in 
California,  Belief,  started  a  multi-firm  pro- 
ject where  each  anonymously  contributed 
a  digital  component  on  the  theme  of 
"darkness."  They  plan  to  do  this  serially. 
"Infinity"  is  next  year's  theme. 

The  rest  were  as  different  as  online 
films  could  be,  but  fleshed  out  Sundance's 
open  arms  to  the  range  of  online  content. 
Meep  Meepf  was  like  emotional  agitprop, 
precise  and  potent  as  a  bullet.  The  Mullet 
Chronicles  was  probably  the  most  commer- 
cial entry,  but  undeniably  funny:  it  was  a 
documentary  series  about  seeking  the  per- 
fect mullet,  the  haircut  that's  long  in  the 
back  and  short  in  the  front.  Webdreamer,  a 
short  digital  video  documentary,  posed 
this  question  to  its  subjects,  "Do  you 
dream  about  the  web?" 

And  this,  perhaps,  is  the  question 
Sundance  ultimately  poses  to  you. 

Karen  Voss  i$  a  journalist  and  producer  for  the 
American  Film  Institute's  New  Media  Ventures 

Department. 


\r..l   2001     THE    INDEPENDENT      19 


LAB  Experiments 


by   Patricia   Thomson 


GONE  FISHING:  The  Sundance  Institute  watering  hole, 
where  lab  screenwriters  &  directors  can  take  some  R&R 
between  rewrites,  production,  and  editing  sessions. 

It  was  a  bounty  crop  this  year  for 
films  from  the  Sundance  Institute's 
Feature  Film  Labs.  Ten  lab  projects  got 
into  the  festival  line-up — a  record  num- 
ber. They  were  a  motley  crew,  ranging 
from  John  Cameron  Mitchell's  crowd- 
pleasing  transexual  musical  Hedwig  and 
the  Angry  Inch  to  Cory  McAbee's  low- 
tech  cowboys-in-space  saga  American 
Astronaut  to  Randy  Redford's  poetic 
Native  American  coming- of-age  story 
Doe  Boy.  So  what  exactly  is  a  "lab  film," 
and  what  advantages  do  they  have  in  the 
overall  scheme  of  things? 

About  15-20  films  per  year  participate 
in  the  labs,  held  since  1983  at  Robert 
Redford's  Sundance  resort  in  the 
Wasatch  mountains.  The  cycle  begins  in 
January  with  the  Screenwriters  Lab,  for 
which  800  to  1,000  submissions  get  win- 
nowed down  to  12  projects.  About  halt  of 
these,  plus  some  fresh  entries,  move  onto 
the  next  phase,  the  Filmmaking  Lab  in 
June.  Following  shortly  on  its  heels  is  a 
summertime  Producers  Lab,  another 
Screenwriters  Lab,  and  a  Composers  Lab. 

Each  is  an  intensive  training  ground 
where  first-time  feature  filmmakers  work 
closely  with  a  rotating  group  of  profes- 


sional advisors.  There's  nothing  quite  like 
it  in  the  film  world,  and  in  fact  the  labs 
are  based  on  a  theater  model,  the  Eugene 
O'Neill  Theater  Center  in  Waterford, 
Connecticut.  Unlike  film  schools,  the  labs 
focus  on  helping  filmmakers  with  a  specif- 
ic project.  "It's  more  practical,"  says  Dan 
Minahan,  who  attended  the  1996  labs 
with  Series  7:  The  Contenders  along  with 
his  lead  actress,  Brooke  Smith.  "You're  lit- 
erally putting  up  scenes  and  shooting 
them  right  away.  You  have  a  whole  crew, 
you're  working  with  real  actors.  You  have 
an  art  department,  a  camera  department, 
lighting  and  grip  people." 

Writers  and  directors  are  able  to  work 
on  problem  scenes  in  a  safe,  supportive, 
alpine  environment  far  from  the  madding 
crowd.  "It's  small,  intimate,  far  away  from 
the  pressures  of  day-to-day  life,"  says 
Michelle  Satter,  who  has  been  running 
the  labs  since  the  beginning.  "Everything's 
taken  care  of:  you've  got  your  housing, 
your  food,  and  an  environment  which  is 
incredibly  stimulating.  No  one's  pushing 
you  to  come  out  with  a  reel — which  is 
what  some  film  schools  are  about,  that 
thesis  film  or  script  to  sell.  We're  not 
about  results.  Sundance  is  completely 
about  process  and  discovery." 

It's  also  about  community.  Each  night 
during  the  Filmmakers  Lab,  everyone 
gathers  to  watch  fresh  footage  by  a  fellow 
lab  participant.  "Everybody  cheers,  and 
everybody  laughs — you  know,  in  the 
wrong  places,"  says  Minahan.  "So  you 
make  a  fool  of  yourself  in  front  of  all  your 
peers,  and  then  it  gets  a  lot  easier.  Because 
of  what  we  were  doing — I  was  really  try- 
ing to  find  the  tone  of  [Series  7] ,  trying  to 
make  it  seem  like  TV,  but  work  as  a 
movie — we  were  encouraged  to  experi- 
ment a  lot.  The  good  thing  is  it  was  really 
a  great  place  to  experiment.  It  was  still 
scary  and  intimidating,  but  if  you  fucked 
up,  people  would  love  you  even  more." 

Contacts  made  during  the  workshops 
endure  long  after  the  cycle  is  complete. 
Both  Satter  and  the  lab  advisors  are  avail- 
able for  consultation  throughout  the  gen- 
esis of  a  film.  Patrick  Stettner,  for  one, 
took  advantage  of  Satter's  open  door  pol- 


icy while  making  The  Business  of  Strangers 
(a  1999  lab  project).  "I  would  call  and 
ask,  'Do  I  have  the  right  lawyer?  Where 
do  I  get  a  lawyer?  Should  I  talk  to  agents 
now?  Should  I  talk  to  agents  later?'  The 
questions  come  streaming  out,  you  know," 
he  laughs.  "Michelle  is  really  helpful  in 
that  regard,  and  I  never  feel  like  I'm  bug- 
ging her,  even  though  I  know  I  am." 

Satter  and  her  staff  make  it  a  policy  to 
stay  involved.  They  will  call  a  writer  to 
ask  when  his  or  her  next  draft  is  ready. 
Advisors  will  look  at  a  director's  rough 
cut  and  offer  feedback.  Satter  will  pick  up 
the  phone  to  get  an  actor  interested  in  a 
script,  as  she  did  with  Julia  Stiles,  who 
wound  up  being  the  young  co-star  of  The 
Business  of  Strangers. 

The  labs  can  also  be  a  critical  bridge  to 
financing.  Sometimes  it  happens  serendi- 
pitously,  as  when  Stettner  started  hanging 
out  with  fellow  filmmakers  David  Siegel 
and  Scott  McGehee  at  the  1999  lab.  In 
addition  to  working  on  their  own  project, 
The  Deep  End  codirectors  were  there 
looking  for  scripts  for  their  new  produc- 
tion company,  called  i5.  McGehee  had 
some  interest  from  a  studio,  but  says,  "We 
left  them  to  go  with  [i5]  because  this  was 
independent  financing.  It  was  great, 
because  they  allowed  me  to  make  my  own 
film." 

On  other  occasions,  Satter  will  play 
matchmaker  between  director  and 
financier.  She  helped  hook  up  the  co- 
directors  of  Lift,  DeMane  Davis  and  Khari 
Streeter,  with  their  eventual  producers, 
executive  producers,  and  financing.  She 
also  played  a  quiet  part  in  getting  Series  7 
to  the  attention  of  Blow  Up  Pictures' 
Jason  Kliot  and  Joana  Vicente,  calling  to 
give  them  a  heads-up  about  the  project. 
"They  may  have  gotten  to  them  on  their 
own,"  she  notes,  and  indeed  Minahan 
says  he  met  Kliot  through  director  Tony 
Bui,  "but  I  think  projects  also  need  that 
phone  call,  saying  'Pay  attention  to  this 
project,  and  here's  why.'  " 

Recently  Satter  has  been  working  hard 
to  develop  donated  services  that  can  help 
nudge  lab  projects  along.  Panavision  now 
lends  two  to  three  camera  packages  a  year, 
Kodak  donates  film  stock,  Avid  con- 
tributes editing  systems  to  selected  pro- 
jects, and  Pacific  Title  offers  its  services. 
In  addition,  Maryland  Producers  Club 
provides  bridge  grants  of  up  to  $10,000. 
Who  gets  what  is  determined  by  "need  at 


20    THE    INDEPENDENT     April  2001 


a  particular  moment,  and  the  readiness  of 
the  project,"  says  Satter.  But  with  virtual- 
ly every  lab  project,  she  asserts,  "We're 
very,  very  proactive." 

That  is,  until  it  comes  to  the  Sundance 
Film  Festival.  Only  a  small  portion  of 
completed  lab  films  get  into  festival. 
Those  directors  who  make  the  cut  are 
sensitive  about  the  perception  of 
favoritism,  while  those  that  don't  say  the 
festival  bends  over  backwards  not  to  seem 


Director  Dan  Minahan  (I) 
confers  with  Creative 
Advisor  Allen  Daviau 
about  striking  the  right 
tone  for  his  reality  TV 
send-up,  Series  7. 


seme*7 


biased,  making  the  odds  harder  for  them. 
According  to  Satter,  lab  and  festival 
staffers  frequently  share  notes  about  film- 
makers to  watch.  But  it's  clear  the  traffic 
doesn't  flow  evenly  down  this  street. 

"Geoff  [Gilmore]  will  come  into  my 
office  and  say,  'There's  this  really  great 
filmmaker  you  must  meet;  he  may  be 
great  for  the  lab.'  Or  [John]  Cooper  might 
say,  'I  saw  a  great  short.'  At  the  same  time, 
I'll  say  go  to  them  and  say,  'I  just  saw  a 
film  from  the  lab,  and  it's  really  good.' 
And  they'll  say,  'Sure,  thank  you,'  "  Satter 
says,  mimicking  a  dull  tone  of  perfunctory 
interest.  She  laughs,  knowing  her  powers 
are  limited  here.  But  she  needn't  worry 
about  whether  the  labs  have  a  lasting 
impact  on  their  filmmakers. 

"For  me,  it  was  a  dream  come  true," 
Minahan  says  of  the  whole  experience. 
"Writing  is  so  solitary.  Now  I  have  this 
group  of  friends  that  I  can  bounce  stuff  off 
of  in  a  collegial  way."  His  memories  and 
contacts  hold  strong.  "I  didn't  want  to 
leave." 

Independent  editor  in  chief  Patricia  Thomson  is 

a  1 0-year  veteran  of  the  cold  and  damp 

Sundance  Film  Festival  and  would  love  to  visit 

the  labs'  mountain  lake  under  a  summer  sky. 


the2nd200i 
IndieKINO 

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August  27  -  September  23,  2001 

Short  and  Feature  length  films,  all  genres  considered. 
Formats  :  VHS,  CD,  File(.avi  only) 
Prizes:  Total  US$15,000 

Entry  Forms  and  Guidelines:  IndieKINO,  Inc. 

(822)593-6391 
e-mail:  boonsoo@indiekino.com 
or  visit  our  website  at  www.iiff.org 

Deadline:  July  15,2001 

US :  i Dream  world  corporation 

400  West  Cummings  Park  Suite#667  5  H'ohiirn. 
MA  01801   U.S.A  (Tel:  781.376.9722) 

Korea  :  1680-3  Seocho  BID  #601.  Seocho-Dong, 
Seocho-Gu,  Seoul.  Korea  137-070 

Sponsors  :  Samsung.  ICBN,  rHmfestivals.com 


April   2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      21 


Fast,  Cheap,  and  Chemically  Treated 

Post  Industrial  Mediamaking 

inBVFFALO 

by   Ghen    Dennis    &   Stephanie   Gray 


There  is  no  motion  picture  processing 
lab  near  Buffalo,  New  York.  Perhaps  this 
is  one  reason  why  the  city  seems  to  breed 
low-budget,  lo-fi  acts  of  mediamaking 
ingenuity.  This  spirit  engenders  the  on- 
going three-minute  film  shows  at 
Squeaky  Wheel,  a  media  artist  access 
center  in  Buffalo.  These  events  prompt 
local  makers  to  create  work  cheap,  fast, 
and  sometimes  dirty.  They  bring  the  com- 
munity together  and  have  helped  revital- 
ize a  dynamism  toward  creating  new 
media  work. 

It  all  began  back  in  1998.  I  [Ghen 
Dennis]  had  just  seen  Stephen  Kent 
Jusick's  NY  Mix  Festival  pro- 
gram "Illicit  Acts,"  a  frenetic 
show  of  8-gauge  films  depict- 
ing in  about  three  minutes 
just  that — the  illicit  act — 
with  many  filmmakers  taking 
chances  with  fate  and  pro- 
cessing, drying  and  spooling 
their  entries  in  Anthology 
Film  Archives'  projection 
booth  moments  before  they 
passed  through  the  projector 
gate.  In  the  same  festival, 
filmmaker  Maia  Cybelle 
Carpenter  presented  a  program  of  chemi- 
cally manipulated,  chewy  and  silvery 
films  that  were  exclusively  hand- 
processed.  Following  the  screening  she 
distributed  a  dense  packet  of  chemical 
recipes  and  artist  manifestos  arguing  for 
the  element  of  chance,  controlled  beauty, 
and  the  renegade  nature  of  processing 
one's  own  film. 

Armed  with  Carpenter's  hand-process- 
ing recipes  and  the  memory  of  "Illicit 
Acts,"  I  organized  Squeaky  Wheel's  first 
super  8  weekend  workshop.  Two  consec- 
utive days  of  shooting  and  processing  film 
culminated  in  a  public  screening  of  the 
work,  alongside  like  films  gathered 
through  a  national  open  call.  Local  first- 
time  processors  presented  work  as  a  sort 
of  visual  dialogue  with  nationally  recog- 


nized artists  like  Ken  Paul  Rosenthal  III,  a 
manifesto  author  himself  and  lively  par- 
ticipant in  the  exchange  of  information 
about  chemical  experiments,  exhibition 
opportunities,  and  audiences  for  such 
filmmaking. 
The  reward  of 
the  first  Hand- 
processed  Film 
Show  was  in  its 
immediacy  and 
its  marriage  of 
Squeaky 
Wheel's  com- 
munity       out- 


one's  personal  identification  with  her. 
Participants  were  given  free  access  to 
point-and-shoot  super  8  cameras,  a  roll  of 
film  or  videotape,  and  processing  lessons 
in  exchange  for  their  efforts.  In  the  spirit 
of  the  event,  editing  was  not  encouraged. 
The  Joan  of  Arc  Festival  audience  fast 
became  the  Joan  of  Arc  Festival  artists 
and  vice  versa.  The  participants — some 
film  veterans,  some  first-timers — gathered 
their  thoughts  and  friends,  shot  their 
visions,  loaded  their  exposed  films  into 
light-tight  tanks  in  Squeaky  Wheel's 
video  editing  suite,  took  over  the  office's 
kitchen  sink  with  toxic  chemistry  bottles, 
and  strung  their 
films  to  dry  like 
fresh  spaghetti 

under   the   furnace 
near  the   executive 
director's  desk. 
Failed  film  pro- 


The  screening  became  an 

Event,  an  interactive  sort  of 

Happening  that  opened  up  a 

new  exchange  between  artists 

in  and  outside  of  Buffalo. 


reach  and  exhibition  programs. 

This  event  inspired  more.  Last  year, 
Squeaky  Wheel  initiated  open  call 
screenings  of  work  that's  three  minutes 
long  and  addresses  an  assigned  topic. 
"Burned!  Three  Minute  Films  About 
Joan  of  Arc"  was  the  first  such  event, 
held  when  Buffalo's  Hag  Theatre, 
Hallwalls,  and  Squeaky  Wheel  teamed  up 
to  program  a  Joan  of  Arc  Festival.  Along 
with  live  theater  and  screenings  of  obvi- 
ous film  titles  by  the  likes  of  Carl  Dreyer 
and  Ulrike  Ottinger  and  less  obvious 
works  by  directors  like  Pierro  Heliczer, 
Squeaky  Wheel  engaged  the  festival 
audience  by  inviting  them  to  be 
impromptu  filmmakers.  The  challenge 
was  to  make  and  show  a  short  film  relat- 
ed to  the  social  history  of  Joan  of  Arc  or 


Top:  "What  are  you  running  from?"  Run,  by  Chris 
Borlowski;  Hello  Buffalo  to  You,  by  Ghen  Dennis.  Both 
screened  in  the  Streets  Closed  for  Demolition  Show. 


cessing  attempts  were  swiftly  doctored  up 
with  paint,  scratches,  and  Rit  dye,  some- 
times to  become  expressionistic  accompa- 
niments to  live  improv  narrations  that 
formed  the  intended  original  content.  A 
national  call  for  short  works  on  Joan  then 
yielded  fantastic  submissions  by  dislocat- 
ed Buffalo  filmmakers  (e.g.,  Keith 
Sanborn's  Mirror)  and  others.  The  screen- 
ing became  an  Event,  an  interactive  sort 
of  Happening,  that  opened  up  a  new 
exchange  between  artists  in  and  outside  of 
Buffalo.  The  exhibition  space  was  our  new 
church. 

Next  came  "The  Love  and  Sex  Show: 
Three  Minute  Films  About  Love  and 
Sex,"  presented  on  Valentine's  Day  last 
year  and  again  this  year.  Okay,  so  audi- 
ence outreach  and  production  inspiration 
for  love  and  sex  is  easy.  Folks  were  fero- 


22    THE    INDEPENDENT     April  2001 


F 


SUPERl 
FILM     1 

Recipe  for  a  3:30  Film 

Three  and  a  half  minutes  is  the  approximate  length  of  one  50  ft 
super  8  film  cartridge.  *  roll  can  be  shot  by  either  an  amateur  or 
■hardened  filmmaker  with  a  point-and-shoot  super  8  camera  o  mge- 
■  nioas  ends.  Hand-processing  one  cartridge  of  super  ftJWC^ 
a  Kodak  Direct  Positive  T-Max  Kit  and  some  f  xer  takes  approxi- 
mately one  hour,  costs  roughly  $6  per  roll,  and  can  be  done  any- 
where with  a  sink,  changing  bag,  and  a  clothesline.  I one :  doe. not 
opt  for  the  splicer  (and  one  shouldn't,  lest  the  f.lm  be  too  short) 
the  three  and  a  half  minute  film  Is  complete  when  dry.  Or  when 
projected,  performed,  and  witnessed  by  an  aud.ence. 


cious  in  their  response  to  the  open  call, 
and  the  cinema  was  again  crowded  for 
the  confessions  of  longing,  true  love,  raw 
desire,  visual  sensuality,  cynical  humor, 
and  life  stories.  For  love  and  sex,  old  cam- 
eras were  dusted  off  and  old  collaborators 
reunited.  Terry  Klein  and  Julie  Zando 
teamed  up  and  rented  a  room  in  the 
seedy  Paris  Hotel  on  the  Niagara  Falls 
honeymoon  strip  to  shoot  a  grimy  super  8 
portrait  of  passion  run  amok  in  Two  Week 
Disaster.  Video  artist  Jody  LaFond's  entry, 
Sigh,  used  recycled  outtakes  from  an 
industrial  job  shot  in  a  commercial  bak- 
ery. Close-ups  of  strong  hands  willfully 
massaging  small  masses  of  dough  were 
juxtaposed  with  a  breathlessly  narrated 
three  minute  history  of  her  entire  life's 
romantic  encounters. 

Perhaps  the  most  complex  program  to 
date  was  "Streets  Closed  for  Demolition: 
Three  Minute  Films  about  Life  in 
Buffalo."  This  focused  on  the  experience 


of  living  in  a  disenfranchised,  post- 
industrial  blue-collar  town  that  possesses 
macabre  histories,  from  the  Victorians' 
obscene  love  affair  with  technological 
inventions  like  electricity  and  death  [see 
"Number  Crunch"]  to  Love  Canal.  Local 
media  artists  crafted  love  songs  to  the 
harsh  implosions  of  Buffalo's  grand  indus- 
trial architecture  and  corrupt  urban  plan- 
ning [see  "Survival  Rant,"  p.  25].  Chris 
Borkowski's  video  entry  Run  was  a  distort- 
ed self-portrait  of  himself  running  through 
the  eerily  vacated  streets  of  downtown 
Buffalo  only  to  be  ironically  stopped  by 
police  who  ask  "what  is  he  doing  down- 
town and  what  is  he  running  from?"  The 
soundtrack  of  his  hard  breathing  was  hyp- 
notically ambient  against  the  urban  quiet 
until  the  police  punctuate  the  silence  and 
thus  the  narrative.  Video  artist  Meg 
Knowles'  entry  cut  between  the  extermi- 
nation of  a  rat  under  her  stove  and  the 
implosion  of  a  downtown  building  ren- 
dered as  an  act  of  God  with 
an  appropriated  narration 
describing  the  hardships  of 
puberty.  Anne  Borden  and 
Gail  Mentlik  documented 
in  single  frames  the  building 
of  a  Starbucks  and  the  com- 
munity's loyalty  to  local  cof- 
fee houses.  Life  in  this  suf- 
fering urban  economy  was 
interpreted,    defined,    and 

Love  &  Sex  Show  entry  The  Abduction, 
by  Sandra  Boero-lmwinkelried. 


BUFFALO  NUMBER  CRUNCH 

Nation's  leading  industrial  city,  port,  and  immigra- 
tion capital  circa  1900:  Buffalo 

Population  of  Buffalo  c.  1900:  800,000-1  million 

Population  of  Buffalo  c.  2000:  300,000 

Average  number  of  paid  snow  days  to  foster  your 
creativity:  5 

Likelihood  your  street  will  be  plowed  after  a  snow- 
storm: unlikely 

Average  annual  ticket  fees  paid  for  parking  on  the 
snow  side  of  the  street  even  in  July:  $300 

Elephant  electrocuted  at  Buffalo's  1900  Pan  Amer- 
ican Expo:  Jumbo 

First  person  to  die  in  the  electric  chair:  Buffalonian 
William  Kemmler  in  1890 

Buffalo  Sheriff  and  hangman  who  went  to  become  a 
U.S.  president:  Graver  Cleveland 

Average  monthly  Niagara  Mohawk  electric  bill:  $24 

Cost  of  monthly  Metro  Transportation  pass:  $44 

Monthly  rent  for  2000'  sq  loft  work  space:  $400 

Monthly  rent  for  a  5-bdrm  apartment  with  studio 
attic:  $500 

Breakfast  at  Amy's  Place  (Lebanese  American 
diner):  990 

Greek  Omelette  Special  at  local  Greek  diner:  $1.99 

Average  number  of  Greek  diners  per  square  block:  2 

Average  cost  of  a  shiny  vintage  bicycle:  $25 

1950s  formica  table  with  4  matching  chairs:  $19 

Likelihood  you'll  have  a  picnic  on  the  downtown 
Lake  Erie  waterfront-,  unlikely 

Chances  of  finding  functioning  film  equipment  in  the 
gutter  on  trash  day:  very  good 

Likelihood  you'll  attend  a  branch  library  film  sale: 
pretty  likely 

Cost  of  Kenneth  Anger's  Kustom  Kar  Komandos  at 
such  a  sale:  $5 

Chances  of  seeing  a  city  building  or  grain  elevator 
imploded:  pretty  good 

Time  it  takes  to  fly  to  New  York  City:  1  hour 

Time  it  takes  to  drive  to  the  Honeymoon  capital  of 
the  world:  35  minutes 

First  person  to  survive  Niagara  Falls  in  a  barrel: 
63-year-old  Annie  Taylor  in  1901 

Words  uttered  upon  emerging:  "One  ought  not  to  do 
that  again." 

Day  of  the  week  one  is  most  likely  witness  a  suicide 
jump  into  Niagara  Falls:  Monday 

Most  likely  to  retrieve  failed  barrel  jumpers:  The 
Maid  of  the  Mist  tourist  boat 

Cost  of  a  Maid  of  the  Mist  boat  ride ;  $8.50 

Blue  plastic  raincoat:  free  to  keep 

—  Stephanie  Gray  &  Ghen  Dennis 


April   2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      23 


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KNEAD  YOU:  From  lody  LaFond's  Love  &  Sex  Show  entry, 
Sigh,  in  which  breathless  commentary  on  the  filmmaker's 
love  life  is  coupled  with  footage  from  a  bakery  industrial. 

digested.  Notions  of  daily  existence  were 
transferred  back  and  forth  from  the 
screen  to  the  audience  through  visual  and 
verbal  treatises  on  harsh  weather  condi- 
tions and  the  tension  between  enduring 
the  situation  and  longing  to  escape  it.  As 
Tony  Conrad  put  it  in  Buffalo  is  a  Verb,  "If 
you  haven't  left  Buffalo  yet,  why  aren't 
you  dead?" 

The  latest  screening,  "The  Dysfunc- 
tional Holiday  Show,"  garnered  the  most 
responses  thus  far  from  out  of  state  while 
competing  with  the  "Love  and  Sex  Show" 
for  local  enthusiasm.  These  three -minute 
works,  most  often  a  bit  sacrilegious,  fea- 
tured Tony  Conrad  homesteading  Los 
Angeles  for  Buffalo,  Kelly  Spivey's 
(among  others)  alcoholic  holiday  binges, 
alarming  familial  holiday  memories,  and 
digital  artist  Barbara  Lattanzi  dissecting  a 
childhood  photograph  into  a  Rubik's  cube 
with  an  absurdist  auditory  accompani- 
ment. "The  Dysfunctional  Holiday  Show" 
proved  that  the  usual  consumptive  non- 
profit art  center  holiday  party  can  be 
turned  into  a  productive  process  of  mak- 
ing and  exhibiting  strong  media  work. 

Solarized,  chemically  processed,  and 
degenerated  film  images  resulting  from 
processing  experiments  are  the  perfect 
vehicles  for  expressing  love,  industrial 
decay,  rust  belt  restlessness,  and  holiday 
dysfunction  swiftly  and  cheaply.  These 
efficient  and  smart  gems  of  experimental 
film,  video,  and  digital  art  are  very  often 
strong  enough  to  live  outside  their  origi- 
nal thematic  context.  Many  have  gone  on 
to  national  festivals,  thereby  maintaining 
an  on-going  exchange  of  ideas  between 
Buffalo  and  all  places  not  Buffalo. 

Ghen  Dennis  [ghen66@hotmail.com]  is  a 

filmmaker  working  as  the  program  director  at 

Squeaky  Wheel.  Stephanie  Gray 

[bluespool@hotmail.com]  is  a  poet  and 

filmmaker  working  as  a  grant  writer  in  Buffalo. 


24    THE    INDEPENDENT     April  2001 


Survival  Rant 

Making  a  3:30  film 
in  downtown  Buffalo. 


by   Stephanie   Gray 

SO  ANOTHER  HISTORICAL  BUILDING  IS 
going  to  be  senselessly  imploded  on 
October  31,  1999.  To:make  what?  A  new 
parking  lot  for  a  chain  hotel,  one  that 
probably  won't  survive  Buffalo's  crum- 
bling downtown  economy  anyway.  What 
am  I — a  below-the-poverty-level-bike- 
riding-super  8-heroine — going  to  do 
about  it  this  time?  Am  I  going  to  make  a 
hand-processed  super  8  love  letter  that 
pays  tribute  to  all  my  favorite  buildings 
that  I  worry  might  be  torn  down  and  sub- 
mit it  to  Squeaky  Wheel's  annual  "Love 
&  Sex  Show,"  as  I  did  last  year?  Am  I 
going  to  take  my  lone  body  and  scream  at 
the  top  of  my  lungs  in  protest  at  City 
Hall?  No.  This  time  I  suppose  I'll  do  what 
I've  always  done  with  this  city,  which  is  to 
obsessively  and  poetically  find  a  way  to 
document  this  most  recent  act  of  destruc- 
tion from  somewhere  up  high,  and  do  so 
before  the  police  completely  block  access 
to  the  disaster  area.  I  try  to  hide  in  a  park- 
ing lot  stairwell.  No  use.  They  find  me. 
Luckily  I  have  my  bike,  which,  unlike 
cars,  is  not  prohibited  in  the  protective 
radius.  I  lock  it  to  a  Stop  sign,  then  stop 
an  official  TV  crew  which  was  granted 
access  to  the  top  of  the  M&T  Bank  tower 
to  ask  if  I  can  tag  along.  Friendly,  but  not 
helpful,  the  camera  guy  says  why  don't  I 
just  ask  the  security  guard  myself? 
Wearing  my  Termite  TV  T-shirt,  I  plead 
with  the  security  guard  that  I  am  with  an 
important  TV  show  and  have  been 
assigned  to  document  this  event.  To  my 
disbelief,  he  buys  my  story  and  sends  me 
up  the  elevator  with  the  TV  crews  and 
rich  guys  affiliated  with  the  bank,  who 
own  various  companies  conducting  the 
demolition.  I  pick  floor  14  and  get  my 
camera  ready  for  slow  motion.  When  I 
start  some  preliminary  shooting,  everyone 
stares  at  the  noise;  they  wonder,  what  is 
that  noise? — is  that  some  kinda  old  cam- 
era? Uh,  yes,  I  say,  it's  a  super  8  camera. 
They  stare  at  me  quizzically,  but  eventu- 
ally  regain   interest   in   the    impending 


countdown.  A  faulty  countdown  ensues, 
then  a  thunderous  roar,  and  I  record  the 
several-second  event  at  48  frames  per  sec- 
ond, almost  using  my  whole  roll  of  film. 
Luckily  I  brought  two.  Everyone  still  looks 
at  me  like,  how  did  I  even  get  up  here? 
Afterwards,  I  hop  on  my  bike  and  head  off 
for  Squeaky  Wheel  to  process  the  assassi- 
nated building.  I  later  exhibit  this  film, 
Demo-Listen,  at  Squeaky  Wheel,  with  a 
voiceover  slamming  gentrification,  anti- 
preservation,  and  corporate  greed. 


Destruction  at  48  frames  per  second  in  Demo-Listen, 
by  Stephanie  Gray. 


International  Insurance  Brokers  Inc. 


Discounted 

Liability 
Insurance 

for 
AIVF  Members 


Suite  500 

20  Vesey  Street 

New  York  City,NY 

10007-2966 

Tel:  800-257-0883 

212-406-4499 

Fax:212-406-7588 

E-Mail:  staff@csins.com 

http://www.csins.com 


April   2001    THE     INDEPENDENT       25 


Rocky  Road 

Public  Access  in  Buffalo 


There's  a  deep  connection 
between  city  politics  and  the  fate 
of  public  access  in  towns  across 
the  country.  While  the  story  of 
Buffalo's  public  access  is  local,  it 
provides  a 
picture  of  the 
dynamics  and 
tensions  that 
occur  between  access  facilities 
and  city  governments  nationwide 
— over  questions  of  management, 
funding  levels,  and  how  to  handle 
controversial  content. 


J^PfiMHEHS 


by  Carl  Mrozek 


Even  lifelong  residents  who  love 
Buffalo  dearly  have  to  admit  that  it  often 
takes  a  bit  longer  for  national  trends  to 
reach  their  city.  There  are  a  few  notable 
exceptions,  however,  like  public  access 
TV. 

Depending  on  how  you  define  it,  pub- 
lic access  has  been  around  in  Buffalo  for 
over  20  years  and  may  owe  its  early  birth 
to  a  politician  who  viewed  public  access 
as  a  community  resource  from  the  outset. 
"I  started  public  access  in  the  late  seven- 
ties," says  James  Pitts,  Buffalo  city  coun- 
cil president  and  longtime  chair  of  the 
telecommunications  committee,  which 
manages  the  city's  cable  franchise  agree- 
ments and  PEG  (public,  education,  gov- 
ernment) access  programs.  "Back  then 
there  was  no  studio,  no  equipment,  just 
part-time  channel  space.  There  were  no 
[community]  producers,  so  a  lot  of  the 
early  programming  was  PR,  talk  shows, 
and  odds  and  ends."  Pitts  is  an  imposing 


figure,  renowned  for  his  bow  ties 
and  political  prowess.  He  finished 
second  in  the  last  mayoral  elec- 
tion, and,  as  someone  in  his  third 
decade  serving  in  City  Hall,  he  is  a 
force  to  be  reckoned  with. 

Pitts'  long  close  association  with 
public  access  TV  underlies  its 
political  nature  in  Buffalo.  Ever 
since  the  inception  of  cable  access 
in  Buffalo,  City  Hall  has  had  a 
firm  grasp  on  its  purse  strings,  as 
cable  franchisee  fees  targeted  for 
operation  of  public  access  have 
always  been  deposited  into  the 
city's  general  fund  rather  than 
into  a  dedicated  public  access 
account.  It  is  no  secret  that  Pitts 
has  paid  more  attention  to  public 
access  than  any  current  or  former 
Buffalo  politician,  and  many 
believe  he  is  the  invisible  hand 
behind  all  city  policy  on  cable  TV 
in  general  and  public  access  in 
particular.  As  such,  he  can  be 
credited  with  its  staying  on  the  air  during 
good  times  and  bad,  including  changes  in 
administration  and  cable  franchises. 
Channel  18's  durability  has  enabled 
numerous  edgy  access  shows  to  now  be  in 
their  second  decade  of  broadcast — shows 
like  Art  Waves  (featuring  music,  art,  and 
theater,  mainly  at  Hallwalls),  Axle  Grease 
(independent  video  and  film),  Roger 
Heymanowsky  (Buffalo's  Charlie  Rose), 
Focus  on  Women  (a  women's  talk  show), 
and  the  controversial  Thunderbird 
Theater  (a  man  in  a  ski  mask  with  a 
strong  anti-Catholic  point  of  view  griping 
about  local  news  and  personal  issues) . 

Pitts  is  also  largely  responsible  for 
Buffalo's  tradition  of  independent  man- 
agement of  public  access.  Among  other 
things,  this  has  kept  the  city  from  being 
sued  by  citizens  irate  over  the  content  of 
a  handful  of  shows  by  having  an  indepen- 
dent group  draw  the  brunt  of  the  fire. 
However,  the  organizations  that  stepped 


up  to  the  plate  have  all  been  burned  by 
the  city  when  they  ran  into  difficulties  or 
failed  to  meet  unspecified  expectations. 
All  were  tossed  into  the  bonfire  when 
they  became  too  difficult  to  manage  or 
outlived  their  political  expediency.  But  all 
faced  a  difficult  path,  being  forced  to  walk 
an  economic  tightrope  stretched  between 
their  long-term  goals  as  outlined  in  their 
management  proposals,  and  the  political 
reality  of  a  budget  tightly  controlled  by 
city  hall. 

One  effect  of  this  bipolar  history  has 
been  to  normalize  turmoil  and  turnover  in 
Buffalo's  public  access  program.  The 
other  has  been  to  discourage  groups  with 
germane  media  and  administrative  back- 
grounds, but  short  on  financial  and  polit- 
ical clout,  from  applying  for  the  dubious 
privilege  of  administering  Buffalo's  public 
access  system. 

As  might  be  expected,  public  access  has 
fallen  into  disarray  after  each  change  of 
the  guard.  Access  to  equipment  and  facil- 
ities has  been  radically  reduced  or  cur- 
tailed, leaving  producers  and  programs  in 
the  lurch,  with  reruns  the  order  of  the  day. 
Thousands  of  dollars  of  access  equipment 
has  been  lost  or  destroyed  between 
administrations.  This  has  compelled  each 
new  manager  to  budget  for  sizable  capital 
outlays  for  equipment  and  physically 
rebuild  the  program  from  scratch.  "We 
inherited  a  mess,"  recalls  Robie  Butler,  the 
executive  director  of  Buffalo  Neighbor- 
hood Network  (BNN),  a  nonprofit  spin- 
off of  the  media  arts  center  Squeaky 
Wheel,  which  submitted  a  successful 
management  proposal.  "We  had  piles  of 
equipment  to  repair,  much  of  it  junk.  We 
set  up  editing  suites  in  the  basement  of  a 
building  undergoing  major  repairs  while 
paying  steep  rent.  We  also  had  to  buy  a  lot 
of  new  equipment — digital  cameras, 
VTRs,  and  editing  systems — in  order  to 
get  the  program  back  on  its  feet." 

The  Sunship  Years 

Independent  administration  of  Buffalo's 
public  access  began  in  1987-  That  year 
the  contract  to  run  access  went  to 
Sunship  Communications,  a  nonprofit 
organization  dedicated  to  African- 
American  cultural  issues.  Sunship  started 
with  strong  support  from  City  Hall,  partly- 
due  to  their  commitment  to  cover  major 
community  events — a  quasi-government 

CONTINUED  ON  PAGE  28 


26    THE    INDEPENDENT     April  2001 


Access  Meets  Art 

Harnessing  the  Power 
of  Video  in  Niagara 


At  first  glance,  videomaker  Paul 
Lamont,  sculptress  Ellen  Steinfeld,  and 
poet  Joanie  Murray  don't  have  a  great 
deal  in  common,  other  than  their  roots  in 
Western  New  York.  However,  each 
received  production  funds  from  a  small 
video  regrant  program  administered  by 
the  Niagara  Council  of  the  Arts.  What 
makes  this  program  so  unique  is  that  it 
funds  work  specifically  for  public  access 
TV.  Though  the  grants  are  modest — 
$2,500  or  less — they  go  a  long  way  in  giv- 
ing mediamakers  a  leg  up. 

According  to  Carl  Schifano,  regrant 
coordinator  for  the  Niagara  Council  of 
the  Arts,  which  redistributes  funding  from 
the  New  York  State  Council  for  the  Arts 
(NYSCA),  "We  want  programs  of  local 
interest,  which  are  hard  to  come  by.  We 
also  want  to  encourage  new  artists — help 
them  get  a  project  under  their  belt — and 
to  build  self-confidence.  Of  course,  we 
hope  they  can  develop  and  go  beyond  the 
community  access  sphere,  although  it's 
not  our  mandate.  Our  first  goal  is  to  reach 
people  in  the  community,  but  Western 
New  Yorkers  are  scattered  across  the 
nation,  so  we  support  both  objectives." 

Naturally,  programs  must  be  of  interest 
to  Western  New  Yorkers  and,  in  particu- 
lar, to  viewers  of  Lockport  Community 
TV  (LCTV),  the  access  channel  of 
Adelphia  Cable  TV.  They  also  must  pre- 
miere on  LCTV  and  not  exceed  30  min- 
utes. After  two  cablecasts,  the  programs 
can  be  distributed  wherever  the  producer 
chooses. 

Some  have  managed  to  make  the  leap 
to  national  broadcast.  Paul  Lamont's 
Fading  in  the  Mist,  about  the  struggle  to 
preserve  the  scenic  beauty  of  Niagara 
Falls,  subsequently  aired  on  PBS  and  won 
national  awards.  "It  took  a  lot  of  blood, 
sweat,  and  tears  to  get  it  done,  and  it 
wouldn't  have  happened  without  the 
[Niagara  Council  of  the  Arts]  grant.  I  was 
free  to  pursue  my  vision,"  Lamont  asserts. 
That  vision  included  an  attack  on  a  long 
legacy  of  crass  exploitation  of  Niagara 
Falls.  "It's  so  hard  to  get  funding  for  doc- 


umentaries in  general,  especially  regional 
ones,"  he  notes.  "It  turns  out  that  [this 
topic]  has  national  appeal,  and  we've  sold 
copies  all  over  the  country.  It's  given  us  a 
track  record  with  PBS  and  real  credibili- 
ty." Lamont  and  associates  have  parlayed 
that  into  a  partnership  with  PBS  affiliate 
WNED-Buffalo  on  a  new  project,  Inland 


One  of  the  success  stories: 

Paul  Lamont's  look  at  the  struggle 

over  Niagara,  Fading  in  the  Mist. 


v£r 


cal  sketches  a  la  Monty  Python.  Boosted 
by  the  experience  and  confidence  gained 
through  Suitcases,  Forman  and  his  collab- 
orators are  hoping  to  land  a  national  TV 
slot  for  Oatmeal  Boys,  whose  pilot  was  also 
partly  funded  by  the  Niagara  Council  of 
the  Arts.  "We've  got  a  lawyer  pitching  it, 
and  we're  looking  for  a  theatrical  agent," 
Forman  says.  "The  regrant  pro- 
gram has  been  great  for  us. 
Without  it  we  wouldn't  be  any- 
where close  to  being  ready  to 
produce  a  comedy  series  for 
national  cable." 

The  success  of  some  regrant 
projects  is  all  the  more  remark- 
able due  the  program's  commit- 
ment to  emerging  and  first-time 
artists.  "While  we  try  to  support 
production  of  high-quality 
regional  documen- 


Voyage:  The  Story  of  the  Erie 
Canal. 

According  to  LCTV  access 
coordinator  Greg  Larson,  the 
ability  of  programs  to  travel 
after  their  LCTV  cablecast 
"is  up  to  each  producer's  ini- 
tiative and  depends  on  their 
quality  and  subject  matter.  Each  producer 
has  to  make  their  own  arrangements,  but 
we'll  provide  them  with  a  list  of  contacts." 

Ellen  Steinberg,  a  visual  artist  whose 
first  video,  Creating  Sculpture  for  Public 
Space,  was  produced  with  regrant  funding, 
turned  her  list  into  region-wide  distribu- 
tion through  other  cable  access  programs. 
Steinberg's  video  documents  her  creation 
of  a  large  metal  sculpture  commissioned 
by  Roswell  Park  Cancer  Institute  of 
Buffalo.  She  profiled  the  entire  process — 
from  design  and  fabrication  through  to  its 
unveiling,  incorporating  a  variety  of  reac- 
tions from  participants  and  the  public.  "I 
contacted  the  [access]  coordinators  indi- 
vidually, and  most  of  them  requested  my 
program,"  she  says.  "I  could  have  gotten  it 
on  access  channels  across  the  state  and 
beyond,  if  I  had  the  time  and  money." 

Chris  Forman's  Hands  Like  Suitcases 
also  found  a  regional  audience  through 
public  access,  as  well  as  an  international 
audience  through  IFILM.com.  A  rare 
comedy  within  the  documentary-rich 
regrant  program,  Hands  Like  Suitcases  laid 
the  groundwork  for  Forman's  current 
work,  The  Oatmeal  Boys,  a  series  of  satiri- 


"OUR  GRANTS 

DON'T  PAY  THE 

RENT,  BUT  THEY 

DO  ENCOURAGE 

INNOVATION." 


taries    and    other 
videos  our  viewers 
otherwise  wouldn't 
see,   we   also   sup- 
port     newcomers 
with    good    ideas, 
including       those 
without    a    strong 
video  background,"  LCTV's  Larson  says. 
"Our  grants  don't  pay  the  rent,  but  they 
do  encourage  innovation." 

A  prime  example  of  this  is  The  Saga  of 
Annie  Taylor,  about  the  first  woman  to 
plunge  over  Niagara  Falls  in  a  barrel  and 
live  to  tell  the  tale.  At  a  quick  glance,  this 
might  be  dismissed  as  a  traditional  docu- 
mentary, but  in  fact  this  collaboration  of 
videographer  Rohesia  Metcalf  and  poet 
Joan  Murray  blends  historical  accounts, 
narrative,  and  several  original  poems  by 
Murray. 

NYSCA  is  clearly  pleased  with  how  the 
regrant  program  has  evolved.  "They've 
consistently  done  a  great  job  with  their 
program,"  says  Claude  Meyer,  director  of 
NYSCA's  Electronic  Media  and  Film  pro- 
gram. "We're  always  open  to  proposals  to 
support  innovative  [video]  production 
and  cable  access  programming.  The 
Niagara  County  regrant  program  is 
unique  in  doing  both  for  so  long." 

For  further  information,  contact  Carl 
Schifano  (716)  284-6188.  Annual  dead- 
line is  in  March. 

—  CM 


April   2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      27 


access  function — besides  managing  pub- 
lic access  for  producers  in  the  communi- 
ty. "We  covered  festivals,  concerts,  and 
other  events  as  a  public  service,  but 
sometimes  at  the  request  of  city  officials," 
recalls  Sunship  board  member  Michael 
Hill.  "TCI,  the  cable  franchisee,  provided 
a  large  van  to  haul  equipment  for  remote 
productions,  but  no  additional  equipment 
to  do  it  with,  so  we  had  to  use  studio 
gear." 

Despite  the  best  of  intentions,  Sun- 
ship's  commitment  to  public  service  came 
to  haunt  them  as  the  demand  for  their 
services  snowballed,  often  coming  from 
politicians.  This  created  a  bottleneck  in 
the  demand  for  equipment  by  access  pro- 
ducers. "Because  capital  expenditures 
were  phased  in  over  five  years,  produc- 
tion equipment  was  limited,"  Hill  contin- 
ues. "Using  it  to  cover  big  events  tight- 
ened the  supply  even  more,  and  indepen- 
dent producers  often  complained  about 
difficulty  getting  equipment  when  they 
needed  it."  Hill  adds  that  Sunship  took 
all  the  heat  for  this  dilemma,  which  in 
fact  had  been  created  by  tight  budgets 
and  their  unexpected  government  access 
duties. 

What  ultimately  sank  Sunship's  ship- 
was  a  conflict  with  City  Hall  over  policy 
and  censorship.  "The  contract  called  for 
formation  of  a  citizens'  advisory  board  to 
create  and  administer  public  access  poli- 
cy, but  the  city  never  formed  one,"  says 
Hill.  "Instead  they  created  policy  as  we 
went  along.  When  conflicts  arose,  like 
over  how  to  deal  with  complaints  about 
offensive  programs,  there  was  no  one  to 
mediate  between  Sunship  and  the  city. 
We  took  all  the  heat.  When  push  came  to 
shove,  all  we  had  to  fall  back  on  was  a 
contract  written  by  and  for  the  city." 

The  city  canceled  Sunship's  contract  in 
the  middle  of  its  third  year,  ostensibly 
over  a  city  tax  delinquency  by  Sunship  on 
the  former  studios  of  WKBW-TV,  owned 
by  Sunship  and  used  as  the  access  facility. 
Hill  believes  the  city's  intransigence  on 
back  taxes  was  one  factor,  but  the  bigger 
one  had  to  do  with  how  to  deal  with  com- 
plaints about  offensive  content.  One  key 
target  was  the  snippets  of  pornography 
sandwiched  into  a  shock  jock- style  show 
called  Rocky  and  Dino's  Back  Alley,  which 
was  actually  produced  in  New  Jersey,  but 
repackaged  in  Buffalo.  "The  city  began 


demanding  that  Sunship  preview  pro- 
grams before  airing  them.  With  our  limit- 
ed staff  and  budget  that  wasn't  feasible, 
especially  since  many  shows  were  deliv- 
ered just  before  going  on  the  air.  Still,  it 
seemed  like  all  these  issues  could  have 
been  worked  out,  if  the  city  had  been  will- 
ing to  bend  a  little,"  Hill  reflects.  "Instead 
they  pulled  the  plug  and  left  Sunship  high 
and  dry." 

Hill  also  believes  the  city  had  unrealis- 
tic expectations.  "The  city  wasn't  willing 
to  fully  back  Sunship's  proposal,  financial- 
ly or  politically.  The  capital  budget  was 
spread  over  five  years,  but  the  expecta- 
tions were  there  right  from  the  start.  We 
tried  to  build  down  expectations,  but  the 
city  didn't  seem  to  appreciate  what  it  costs 
to  do  television  at  the  level  they  were 
hoping  for." 

BCAM  Takes  the  Reins 

It  was  more  than  a  year  before  another 
organization,  Buffalo  Cable  Access  Media 
(BCAM),  was  selected  to  administer  the 
public  access  program  in  1992.  In  its  favor, 
BCAM  had  broader  racial  and  ethnic  rep- 
resentation, plus  representation  from  the 
arts,  media,  and  academic  communities. 
It  also  had  a  savvy,  seasoned  executive 
director,  Sharon  Mooney,  who  was  fresh 
from  running  a  successful  public  access 
facility  in  Texas.  Initially,  at  least,  she  had 
the  ear  and  respect  of  City  Hall 

Under  Mooney,  there  was  an  air  of 
optimism  about  the  future  of  public  access 
in  Buffalo.  Before  the  year's  end,  newly 
trained/certified  producers  had  access  to  a 
moderately  well-equipped  TV  studio, 
editing  bays,  and  an  expanding  volunteer 
freelance  crew  pool.  A  staff  of  four  han- 
dled programming,  managed  and  main- 
tained an  expanding  equipment  pool,  and 
provided  regular  training  programs. 
Training,  a  fair  and  open  access  policy, 
and  a  modest  outreach  effort  brought  in 
new  producers  and  diversified  the  pro- 
gram mix. 

Unfortunately,  as  with  Sunship,  the 
honeymoon  didn't  last  long.  BCAM's  cap- 
ital budget  for  new  equipment  was  negli- 
gible in  their  second  and  third  years,  pre- 
cisely when  they  should  have  been  adding 
equipment  to  serve  a  growing  pool  of  par- 
ticipants. During  this  same  period,  rather 
than  augmenting  staff  to  accommodate 
increased  demand  for  services,  most  staff 


"The  city  didn't  seem  to 

appreciate  what  it  costs  to  do 

television  at  the  level  they 

were  hoping  for." 

— Sunship  board  member 
Michael  Hill 


were  reduced  to  part-time.  Producers 
became  frustrated  and  vented  their  frus- 
tration at  BCAM  staff.  "The  city  consis- 
tently underestimated  the  budgetary 
needs  of  public  access.  They  either  don't 
understand  what  it  takes  to  operate  a  suc- 
cessful public  access  program  or  they 
don't  want  one,"  Hill  says. 

After  a  few  years  of  budget  battles  with 
City  Hall  and  wrangling  with  disgruntled 
producers,  Mooney  left  for  greener  pas- 
tures in  L.A.,  leaving  a  leadership  vacu- 
um which  split  the  board  over  her 
replacement.  Ultimately  Mooney 's  assis- 
tant, Michelle  Howard,  prevailed  with 
City  Hall's  blessings,  despite  being  the 
least  experienced  candidate.  In  barely  a 
year  the  program  ran  aground  when 
Howard  was  suspected  and  later  convict- 
ed of  embezzling  funds  upwards  of 
$25,000.  According  to  city  auditors,  dou- 
ble that  amount  vanished  during  this 
period,  sealing  the  demise  of  BCAM. 

Phase  Three:  BNN 

The  final  blow  came  when  Buffalo's  cable 
franchise  changed  hands,  along  with  own- 
ership of  the  building  in  which  public 
access  studios  were  housed.  Adelphia 
Cable,  the  new  cable  provider,  had  other 
plans  for  the  building  and  evicted  BCAM 
under  terms  of  their  franchise  agreement 
with  the  city.  The  move  to  temporary 
quarters  was  left  in  the  hands  of  the  city's 
Telecommunications  Agency,  which  wait- 
ed until  the  last  minute  to  move  the 
equipment.  This  resulted  in  chaos. 
Equipment  was  grabbed  randomly, 
thrown  into  vans,  and  driven  to  a  gated 
storage  area  where  it  was  unloaded  and 
piled  haphazardly  into  a  trailer.  A  sub- 
stantial amount  of  gear  was  left  exposed 
outdoors  for  some  time.  "An  awful  lot  of 
the  equipment  was  essentially  junk  by  the 
time  we  got  it,  and  wasn't  worth  repairing. 


28    THE    INDEPENDENT     April  2001 


We  had  to  virtually  start  from  scratch 
when  we  took  over  the  program,"  says 
BNN's  Butler. 

The  view  from  City  Hall,  which  man- 
aged the  access  program  for  more  than  a 
year  in  the  wake  of  BCAM's  downfall, 
was  quite  different.  "The  problem  has 
always  been  the  third  party  running  the 
program.  They  can't  seem  to  get  orga- 
nized and  always  skew  towards  their  spe- 
cial interests,"  Pitts  laments.  "They 
haven't  created  the  kind  of  programming 
which  the  community  needs,  the  kind 
which  could  attract  outside  revenues  to 
help  sustain  public  access." 

However,  under  BNN,  salvageable 
equipment  was  repaired  and  new  digital 
equipment  was  purchased,  maintained, 
and  loaned  out.  Bills  were  paid,  and 
financial  reports  filed  on  time.  Butler  and 
the  BNN  board  take  strong  exception  to 
Pitt's  characterization  of  why  public 
access  has  floundered  in  Buffalo.  "We  did 
everything  we  were  supposed  to  under 
the  contract  in  our  first  year  and  more, 
despite  little  support  from  City  Hall," 
insists  Butler.  "Canceling  our  contract 
was  all  about  politics,  not  performance." 

As  with  Sunship,  not  knowing  how  to 
deal  with  pressure  to  'do  something 
about'  controversial  programs  created  a 
dilemma.  This  time  the  hot  potato  was 
Thunderbird  Theater,  a.k.a.  'the  ski  mask 
guy,'  a  show  that  often  attacks  the 
Catholic  Church  and  local  government 
and  politicians.  Despite  repeated  pressure 
from  City  Hall  to  have  the  producer  'tone 
it  down,'  Butler  refused  to  pressure  the 
producer  to  modify  the  show  or  to  have 
him  deal  directly  with  City  Hall.  She  and 
BNN  paid  the  price  with  termination  of 
BNN's  management  contract.  "I  told 
them  I  wouldn't  censor  shows,  that  I 
could  be  sued  personally  for  doing  so,  and 
that  it  violated  the  producer's  First 
Amendment  rights,"  she  says.  "Public 
access  is  a  public  forum,  and  when  cen- 
sorship is  imposed  it's  equivalent  to  a  gov- 
ernment takeover — something  we 
deplore  when  it  happens  in  the  Third 
World.  It's  also  stupid  to  censor  access 
programs  because  First  Amendment 
rights  have  consistently  been  upheld  by 
the  courts.  If  the  ACLU  takes  the  case, 
they're  almost  sure  to  win." 

However,  the  city  viewed  the  break 
with  BNN  differently.  "With  the  comple- 


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April   2001    THE     INDEPENDENT       29 


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SO 


tion  of  our  new  multi-million  dollar 
Telecommunications  Center  in  the 
Apollo  Theater,  it  didn't  make  sense  to 
have  separate  operations  for  education, 
government,  and  public  access.  It  made 
more  sense  to  have  PEG  under  one  roof — 
under  our  control,"  says  Thomas 
Tarapacki,  director  of  Buffalo's  Telecom- 
munications Agency. 

A  Brighter  Future? 

Six  months  after  terminating  its  agree- 
ment with  BNN,  the  city  issued  an  RFP 
for  "Management  and  Operation  of  a 
Municipal  Multi-Purpose  Telecommun- 
ications Center."  According  to  Tarapacki, 
whomever  is  selected  will  run  technical 
support  and  take  care  of  day-to-day  oper- 
ations under  close  supervision  by  his 
agency  and  a  yet  to  be  formed  Citizens' 
Access  Advisory  Board  (CAAB).  Once 
convened,  it  will  be  the  first  CAAB  in  the 
history  of  public  access  in  Buffalo.  Never- 
theless, its  seven  voting  members  will  all 
be  City  Hall  appointees — four  by  the 
common  council  and  three  by  the  mayor. 

Despite  the  controversy  over  BNN  and 
Buffalo's  checkered  track  record  in  public 
access,  Pitts  is  upbeat  about  the  future  of 
access  television.  "Our  new  state  of  the 
art  access  center  is  going  to  be  a  commu- 
nications hub  like  we've  never  seen  in 
Buffalo,  where  we'll  link  cable  TV,  the 
Internet,  and  the  library  system.  The 
library  next  door  is  going  to  be  a  state  of 
the  art  media  center,  where  we'll  use  new 
media  to  connect  kids  to  the  cyber  world. 
At  the  Apollo  Center,  anyone  with  ideas 
and  ability  can  come  in  and  produce  the 
kind  of  programs  you  won't  see  on  other 
local  channels,"  Pitts  says.  "One  of  the 
problems  with  public  access  in  the  past  is 
defining  it  as  providing  equipment  to  folks 
to  do  their  own  thing.  'Public  access' 
should  also  mean  access  to  information 
and  opportunities." 

Curiously,  even  long-time  proponents 
of  an  independent  approach  to  public 
access  see  a  role  for  public  access  in  eco- 
nomic development.  "It  would  be  great  if 
public  access  could  do  more  to  serve  com- 
munity needs  in  Buffalo,  which  still  has  a 
depressed  economy,"  says  Tony  Conrad, 
University  of  Buffalo  media  professor,  and 
a  former  BCAM  and  current  BNN  board 
member.  "For  example,  as  part  of  the  pub- 
lic access  training  program  there  could  be 


more  emphasis  on  marketable  skills  in 
production  and  program  development.  In 
a  few  years  there's  going  to  be  a  huge 
demand  for  video  content  on  the  Internet 
and  for  people  who  can  create  it.  Why  not 
get  people  started  through  public 
access?,"  Conrad  muses.  He  also  believes 
that  public  access  could  be  an  appropriate 
medium  for  an  assortment  of  vocational 
and  skills  training  programs. 

Pitts  also  views  PEG  access  as  vital  to  a 
brighter  economic  future,  especially  for 
Buffalo's  Black  community.  "I'd  like  to  see 
small  businessmen  using  public  access  TV 
to  acquire  skills  and  promote  their  busi- 
nesses," he  declares.  "We  could  feature 
programs  on  how  to  develop  and  run 
small  businesses  and  help  introduce  them 
to  the  community.  I'd  like  to  see  more 
producers  making  programs  that  benefit 
the  community,  the  kind  you  don't  see 
much  of  on  other  local  stations.  Why  not 
make  programs  on  local  history,  geogra- 
phy, economics?  We  plan  to  use  our  staff 
and  facilities  to  produce  quality  programs 
like  we  haven't  seen  before,  and  we  invite 
people  with  skills  and  ideas  to  come  to  the 
Apollo  and  do  the  same.  Training  produc- 
ers to  do  their  own  thing  is  okay,  but  it 
only  goes  so  far.  What's  missing  is  pro- 
grams that  educate  and  serve  community 
needs." 

Conrad  also  envisions  a  public  access 
program  that  could  forge  a  vital  link 
between  the  community  and  its  smaller 
institutions.  "There  are  hundreds  of  non- 
profit groups  in  the  city  which  provide  all 
types  of  services.  Most  of  them  have  an 
information  delivery  challenge:  how  to 
get  their  message  out  to  the  community. 
It's  too  expensive  to  get  full  programs  on 
commercial  and  public  television,  but  for 
a  little  money  they  could  hire  a  trained 
access  producer  to  get  their  message  on 
Channel  18.  There's  also  a  lot  of  intellec- 
tual capital  in  this  town  that  isn't  being 
marketed  adequately.  Why  not  have  peo- 
ple use  public  access  to  market  their  skills, 
their  ideas?" 

Looking  down  the  road,  Pitts  envisions 
extending  public  access  to  broadband 
applications  on  the  Internet.  "Buffalo  is 
one  of  the  most  wired  cities  of  its  size  in 
America.  We're  working  to  create  part- 
nerships with  cable  and  other  companies 
that  are  using  our  streets  and  pipes  to 
install  their  fiber  to  make  some  of  that 


available  to  us  for  public  use,  so  that  we 
can  market  ourselves  to  the  world,"  he 
says.  "A  century  ago  Buffalo  was  very 
global.  We  want  to  achieve  that  again  by 
broadening  our  definition  of  public 
access.  Our  new  facility  is  going  to  be  the 
mothership  for  multi-media  centers  in 
other  corners  of  Buffalo,  all  of  them  con- 
tributing to  the  access  channel." 

Access  producers  give  the  Telecom- 
munications Agency  mixed  reviews  on  its 
recent  management  of  the  public  access 
program  at  the  Apollo  Theater.  Ghen 
Dennis,  technical  coordinator  at  Squeaky 
Wheel,  reports  increased  use  of  editing 
facilities  at  Squeaky  Wheel  since  the 
city's  takeover  of  public  access.  "Public 
access  producers  have  been  using  our 
editing  suites  a  lot  more  since  BNN's  con- 
tract was  cancelled,  because  of  limited 
access  to  editing  equipment,"  she  says. 

However,  self-sufficient  types  like  Chris 
Borkowski,  producer  of  Artwaves,  the 
longstanding  access  program  produced  by 
Buffalo's  contemporary  arts  center 
Hallwalls,  have  no  qualms  with  direct  city 
management  to  date.  "For  us  city  man- 
agement hasn't  been  a  problem,"  says 
Borkowski.  "We  do  all  our  production  in- 
house,  so  access  to  equipment  isn't  an 
issue.  Our  shows  have  been  airing  at  the 
usual  time  and  without  censorship." 
Veteran  independent  producer  Richard 
Wicka,  who  has  his  own  studio,  concurs. 
"I  can  see  where  it  could  be  better,  but 
city  management  isn't  causing  me  any 
problems,"  he  says.  "But  neither  did  BNN. 
A  lot  of  producers  here  are  taking  a  wait- 
and-see  attitude." 

Time  will  tell  whether  public  access 
flourishes  under  the  direct  supervision  of 
the  city's  Telecommunications  Agency 
and.  the  guidance  of  a  politically  sensitive 
Citizens'  Access  Advisory  Board.  The 
critical  question  may  be  whether  the  city 
of  Buffalo  proves  any  more  willing  to  sup- 
port its  own  administration  of  PEG  than  it 
has  for  those  community  organizations 
that  came  before  it.  A  key  test  may  come 
when  the  next  batch  of  viewer  complaints 
over  content  reaches  the  desks  of  city 
councilors,  and  they  realize  that  the  buck 
stops  there. 

Carl  Mrozek  is  a  former  public  access  producer 

in  Buffalo  who  specializes  in  documentaries  and 

shorts  about  wildlife  and  conservation.  His  work 

has  appeared  on  die  Discovery  Channel,  PBS, 

CBS,  and  National  Geographic. 


30    THE    INDEPENDENT     April  2001 


6* 


• 


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S 


11?  !^Q 


by   Brian    Frye 

IN  THE  1960s,  FILM  DISTRIBUTORS  LIKE  THE  FILM-MAKERS' 
Cooperative  in  New  York  and  Canyon  Cinema  in  San  Francisco 
were  among  the  best  expressions  of  the 
collective  spirit  of  their  day,  with  an  "all  for 
one  and  one  for  all"  ethos.  While  both  are 
still  alive  and  kicking,  the  spirit  of  the  coop 
erative  is  no  longer  as  galvanizing  as  it  once 
was.  The  last  few  years,  however,  have  seen 
the  blossoming  of  what  one  might  call  their 
nineties  counterpart:  "micro-distributors." 
These  are  small,  largely  home-grown  opera- 
tions which  offer  the  authenticity  and  passion 
of  a  quirky  small  business  and  stand  in  con- 
trast to  the  perceived  leveling  effects  of  face- 
less corporations.  Drawing  inspiration  from  a 
multitude  of  sources — from  DIY  record  labels 
and  early  film  distributors  to  proto-Ponzi  schemes — they 
all  reflect  the  single-minded  devotion  of  one  dedicated 
person.  What  follows  is  a  look  at  three  rising  micro-dis-        $   : 
tributors — how  they  got  started,  what  type  of  work  they 
offer,  and  what  it  takes  to  run  the  show. 

oanie4jackie 

If  you  follow  the  video  scene  at  all,  you've  certainly  heard 
of  Miranda  July,  who  just  finished  a  nationwide  tour  of  her  video 
performance  Love  Diamond,  which  was  a  smash  at  venues  from 
New  York  City's  Walter  Reade  Theater  to  the  Museum  of  Fine 
Arts  in  Houston.  But  in  addition  to  working  on  her  own 
career — making    tapes    and    recording    for    the    Olympia, 
Washington,  label  K  Records — July  also  runs  a  tiny  distribu- 
tion operation  called  Joanie4Jackie.  Like  her  performances,  it's 
something  wholly  unique  and  operates  more  like  a  chain  letter 
connecting  young  female  media  artists  than  a  traditional  distrib- 
ution company. 

As  July  tells  it,  it  all  started  when  she  moved  to  Portland, 
Oregon,  in  1995  and  was  impressed  by  the  lively  DIY  music 


scene.  She  wished  that  something  similar  existed  for  film-  and 
videomakers.  "I  decided  to  start  a  correspondence  course  for 
girls  making  movies,"  July  says,  which  she  originally  dubbed  Big 
Miss  Moviola.  After  announcing  an  open  call  for  videotapes  by 
women  in  DIY  music  mags  like  Maximum  Rock'n'Roll,  July  com- 
piled the  first  10  into  what  she  calls  a  "video  chain  letter."  A 
rather  benign  version  of  the  classic,  hard-sell  chain  letter,  each 
participant  received  a  copy  of  the  completed  tape,  along  with  a 
booklet  in  which  each  woman  wrote  a  letter  introducing  herself 
to  the  rest.  Since  then,  July  has  released  10  more  video  chain  let- 
ters and  another  is  forthcoming.  Self-consciously  egalitarian, 
these  include  artists  ranging  from  middle  school  to  middle-aged, 
whose  work  runs  the  gamut  from  arch  avant-garde  to  cinema 
verite  to  the  rawest  home  movie.  In  addition  to  being  sent 
directly  to  participating  videomakers,  these  compilations  are 
sold  on  the  Joanie4Jackie  web  site  for  a  very  reasonable  $10. 

Last  year  July  was  forced  to  abandon  her  original  company 
name  of  Big  Miss  Moviola,  prompted  by  threats  of  legal  action 

from  Moviola  Digital.  Rather 
than  fight  it  out  in  court,  she 
rechristened  her  project 
Joanie4Jackie,  which  she 
explains  as  "girls  endorsing 
girls,  like  'So-and-so  for 
President.'  " 

In  1997,  July  started  the 
Co-Star  series  as  a  comple- 
ment  to   the   video   chain 
letters.   For  each  Co-Star 
tape,  July  asks  a  curator  to 
select    several    films    or 
videos  which  they  consid- 
er   especially    important 
and    of   particular    rele- 
vance to  the  Joanie4Jackie 
audience.  The  most  recent, 
Astria  Suparak's  Some  Kind 
of  Loving,  included  works  by 
Karen     Yasinsky,     Jennifer 
Reeder,    Stephanie    Barber, 
and   Peggy   Ahwesh,    among 
others.  For  these  video  compi- 
lations, July  teamed  up  with  K 
Records,     which     distributes 
them  via  their  record  catalog, 
thus  allowing  the  works  to  ben- 
efit from  a  more  vigorous  mar- 
keting  program.   The   Co-Star 
artists  share  50  percent  of  each 
tape's  net  profit,  and  those  on  the 
first  compilation — which  has  sold 
about    1,700   copies — are    already 
making  money. 
July  considers  both  projects  of  equal  importance,  as  they  serve 
different  needs  and  purposes.  If  the  chain  letters  provide  a  sense 
of  community  and  shared  purpose,  the  Co-Star  tapes  add  a  dash 
of  pedagogy,  pointing  to  specific  tapes  as  worthy  of  emulation. 


J0ANIE4JACKIE 

So.m.""» vW' 

arti^  J.er(var'ous 


artists, 


'"eluding 


WXimena 


an<e  Barber, 


Cuev, 


as). 


April   2001    THE    INDEPENDENT       31 


Joanie4Jackie  operates  out  of  July's  Portland  office,  which 
doubles  as  her  rehearsal  studio.  While  a  couple  of  dedicated 
friends  help  with  the  more  technical  aspects  of  the  operation 
(web  design,  grantwriting,  and  the  like),  July  depends  heavily  on 
interns,  many  of  whom  she  meets  on  tour.  The  funds  raised  from 
tape  sales,  however,  are  hardly  sufficient  to  cover  costs;  grants 
from  the  Regional  Arts  and  Culture  Council  and  the  Andrea 
Frank  Foundation  have  helped  put  Joanie4Jackie  in  the  black. 
But  Miranda  July  isn't  the  sort  to  be  content  with  just  receiving 
grants.  Soon  she'll  be  doling  out  money  herself,  passing  on  a  por- 
tion of  those  grants  to  the  chain-letter  girls  in  Joanie4Jackie. 
According  to  July,  future  chain  letters  will  be  shorter,  appear 
more  frequently,  and — most  significantly — each  will  include  a 
new  work  by  a  contributor  to  one  of  the  previous  tapes,  commis- 
sioned by  July  to  the  tune  of  $1,000.  The  idea  came  from  her 
own  experience  as  an  alternative  media  artist;  after  finishing  a 
first  film  or  video,  she  says,  young  artists  wonder  "what  now?" 
July  wants  to  provide  both  the  means  to  continue  working  and 
the  validation  of  critical  recognition. 

Every  day  July  gets  suggestions  of  other  ways  she  could  dis- 
tribute films  and  videos.  Her  response  is,  "That  sounds  great. 
Why  don't  you  do  it?"  As  she  notes,  "There  are  as  many  perfect 
systems  as  there  are  people.  This  one  is  what  I  needed.  That's  the 
reason  I  can  keep  doing  it  for  free,  because  basically  it's  giving  me 
something  I  need,  every  day." 


111 


In   1994,  Matt  McCormick  was  making  the 
lonely  drive  across  the  Lone  Star  State  when  the 
seeds  of  Peripheral  Produce  first  sprouted.  The 
name  came  in  a  flash,  combining  the  idea  of  art 
"made  and  sold  like  agriculture  or  produce" 
and  the  fact  that  his  sort  of  "produce"  wasn't 
likely    to    garnish    a    Big    Mac.    Peripheral 
Produce  came  to  fruition  the  next  year,  debut- 
ing as  a- cable  access  show  in  McCormick's 
new  home  of  Portland,  Oregon.  Before  long, 
the  TV  series  gave  way  to  live  shows,  and 
McCormick     was     presenting     Peripheral 
Produce   film   programs   complete   with   live 
bands  all  over  Portland.  After  one  too  many 
audience  members  suggested  he  do  a  video  com 
pilation  of  the  shorts,  in  1996  he  did  just  that. 

The  result  was  the  Auto -Cinematic  Video  Mix  Tape  and  the 
beginnings  of  Rodeo  Filmco,  the  "official  business  side"  of 
Peripheral  Produce  (formed  because  "we  didn't  want  to  explain 
what  'peripheral  produce'  was  every  time  we  went  to  the  bank"). 
McCormick  had  long  planned  to  start  some  sort  of  distribution 
project,  but,  like  Miranda  July,  he  was  more  excited  by  the  model 
offered  by  small,  regional  music  labels  than  by  established  video 
distributors  like  Facets  or  Video  Data  Bank,  whose  customers  are 
more  often  institutions  than  individuals.  "Sure,  you  can  call  up 
one  of  these  distributors  and  rent  a  video  or  a  film  print  for  fifty 
dollars  or  more,  but  I  felt  like,  well,  that's  kind  of  impossible, 


especially  if  it's  just  something  I  want  to  see  for  myself." 
A  longtime  collector  of  seven-inch  45  rpm  records,  McCormick 
saw  short  films  as  an  analogous  format  and  wondered  why  they 
weren't  available  in  a  similarly  cheap  and  accessible  form.  As  he 
saw  it,  "You  want  to  have  them  on  your  shelf  and  pull  them  out." 
While  the  DIY  music  scene  had  lots  of  small,  regional  labels  dis- 
covering and  supporting  local  artists,  there  was  no  obvious 
equivalent  for  filmmakers.  Taking  a  cue  from  those  labels, 
McCormick  decided  he  would  prepare  the  actual  product  for  dis- 
tribution— from  mastering  to  packaging — rather  than  operate  as 
a  mere  purveyor  of  tapes  supplied  by  artists. 

The  first  tape,  which  featured  artists  ranging  from  Scott 
Arford  and  McCormick  himself  to  Olympia  Film  Ranch,  was 
very  successful,  selling  several  hundred  copies.  After  about  a  year 
and  a  half,  McCormick  realized  he  had  to  make  a  formal  business 
out  of  the  project.  Concluding  that  applying  for  nonprofit  status 
was  too  much  of  a  hassle,  he  got  a  business  license  as  Rodeo 
Filmco,  which  he  now  believes  better  suits  his  needs. 
McCormick  draws  up  a  contract  with  every  artist  whose  tapes  he 
distributes,  much  like  one  offered  by  a  small  record  label.  A  small 
advance  is  included  in  the  initial  costs,  and  net  profits  are  split 
on  a  percentage  basis.  While  most  of  the  tapes  barely  break  even, 
McCormick  is  currently  in  the  black,  if  only  just. 

Unlike  more  traditional  film  distributors,  Rodeo  Filmco  only 
sells  tapes  for  home  use;  he  doesn't  rent  them  for  theatrical 
screenings  or  set  up  shows  for  the  artists  it  distributes.  While  Mc 
Cormick  says  he's  happy  to  present  curated  Peripheral  Produce 
shows,  he  prefers  to  connect  venues 
to  artists  directly.  All  the  Rodeo 
tapes  include,  complete  contact 
information  for  every  artist  on  the 
video,  so  people  often  bypass  him 
entirely.  That's  fine  with  him,  as 
the  few  times  he  acted  as  interme- 
diary, he  found  it  took  too  much 
time  and  offered  too  little  reward. 
In  addition,  with  home  video 
sales  there's  less  pressure,  as  he  can 
ship  tapes  when  time  allows,  rather 
than  having  to  keep  on  top  of  book- 
ings all  the  time. 

The  Rodeo  roster  includes  tapes 

by  video -mix  duo  Animal  Charm, 

Vanessa  Renwick  of  the  Oregon 

Department  of  Kick  Ass,  Craig 

Baldwin's    Tribulation    99   and 


■>^5tf^ 


•s 


^e\rV'#°    nature 


WSV< 


&*1 


^c!,b0ia#n;>^ 


$af 


utia^s; 


'**$&« 


So' 


From 

Sarah  Marcus's 

Knuckle  Down 


Sonic     Outlaws,     and     Russ 
Forster's    8-Traclc   Mind.    A 
sixth  tape  is  set  for  release 
with   many   more    in    the 
works,     and    the    future 
looks   promising,    though 
future      profits      remain 
unlikely.        McCormick 
keeps  costs  down  by  oper- 
ating  Rodeo   out   of  his 
home,   but   he   plans    to 


32    THE    INDEPENDENT     April  2001 


have  a  part-time  employee  soon  and  step  up  advertising.  To  date, 
he  has  depended  primarily  on  the  Internet  and  small  ads  in  film 
magazines  like  this  one;  in  addition,  small-scale  ad  campaigns  in 
high- end  film  fanzines  like  Cinemad  and  Cashiers  du  Cinemart  are 
imminent.  K  Records  has  also  started  carrying  his  tapes,  which 
has  helped  make  inroads  with  the  music  crowd.  Not  surprisingly, 
he's  had  a  lot  more  luck  with  sales  to  a  younger,  more  music-ori- 
ented audience  than  to  the  artworld  crowd.  "On  tour,  we  sell  a 
ton  of  merchandise  at  a  punk  club  in  a  small  town  like  Chico, 
California,  and  nothing  at  a  museum  in  a  big  'cool'  city." 


' 


tun flLWS 

What  do  you  do  when  a  Brazilian  friend  leaves  several 
film  prints  at  your  house  and  asks  if  you'll  take  care  of  United 
States  rentals?  Stephen  Kent  Jusick  took  it  as  a  cue  to  start  his 
own  distribution  company,  Fever  Films,  which  now  handles 
about  100  films  and  videos.  Specializing  in  gay  and  lesbian  films, 
Fever  Films'  roster  ranges  from  Karim  Ainouz  (the  Brazilian  in 
question)  to  Texas  Tomboy,  Jenni  Olsen,  Michael  Wallin,  Jerry 
Tartaglia,  and  many  more. 

When  Ainouz  left  his  two  films 
with  Jusick  in  1995,  the  latter  was 
working  for  the  MIX  Festival  in 
New  York  City.  One  of  the  films, 
Paixao  National,  was  brand  new 
and  became   the   kernel  of  the 
fledgling    company    as    Jusick 
shepherded  it  through  the  festi- 
val circuit.  For  a  couple  of  years, 
Jusick   handled   only  Ainouz's 
work,    but   by   late    1996   he 
began  to  expand  Fever  Films, 
acquiring  more  titles.  He  now 
distributes    both    individual 
works  and  also  themed  pro- 
grams       of       shorts.        A 
QueerPunk  package  has  been 
particularly   successful,   pri- 
marily  because    the    target 
audience  is  so  well  defined. 
And  if  an  artist  has  a  body 
of  work,  Fever  Films  will 
often     distribute     every- 
thing. 

Unlike  most  newer  micro-distributors, 
Fever  Films  hews   to   a  fairly  traditional 
nontheatrical  distribution  model,  handling 
festival  applications,  press  releases,  renting, 
shipping,  and  billing.  It  has  a  catalog,  though 
Jusick  admits  that  it's  now  "somewhat  out- 
dated" and  none  too  slick.  Designed  by  one  of 
the   filmmakers,   it's   easily   duplicated   on   a 
Xerox  machine.  "I'd  love  to  have  something 
printed  and  bound,  but  it  would  cost  a  couple 


super 
Ants  in  Her  Pants, 
by  K8  Hardy 


of  thousand  dollars,  which  would  have  to  come  from  some- 
where," says  Jusick. 

Fever's  renters  run  the  gamut — from  festivals  to  universities 
to  small  art  spaces — but  festivals  tend  to  be  the  priority,  as  they 
are  more  reliable  than  schools  and  can  afford  to  pay  (even  if  they 
don't  like  to),  while  many  art  spaces  cannot.  Even  so,  Fever 
doesn't  turn  a  profit.  "There  are  times  when  I  feel  like  I  put  more 
money  in  than  comes  out,"  Jusick  admits. 

While  he  operates  Fever  Films  out  of  his  home  office,  a  sepa- 
rate business  line  and  front  desk  help  Jusick  keep  operations  pro- 
fessional and  under  control.  Jusick  estimates  that  he  spends  20 
to  30  hours  a  week  on  Fever  Films,  though  his  workload  decreas- 
es a  little  over  the  summer,  when  it's  easier  to  find  interns.  While 
he  would  love  to  hire  someone  part-time,  there's  simply  no 
money  for  it.  "What  that  means  is  that  everything  rests  on  me  in 
a  lot  of  ways,  and  it's  horrible,"  he  declares.  "Every  mo-ment  is  a 
moment  for  recrimination  and  guilt,  and  anything  you  don't  do 
yourself  doesn't  get  done." 

One  of  Jusick's  biggest  projects  right  now  is  enhancing  the 
company's  web  presence.  While  basic  information  on  films  is 
currently  available  online,  he  plans  to  add  a  searchable  database. 
He  also  wants  to  expand  his  company's  profile.  While  he  doesn't 
have  an  advertising  budget,  Jusick  confides  that  "if  I  learned 
anything  working  at  festivals,  it's  that  reciprocity  is  the  name  of 
the  game."  Often  he'll  offer  reduced  rates  in  exchange  for  an  ad 
in  a  festival  catalog.  But  the  bulk  of  his  marketing 
takes  the  form  of  direct  mail  pitches  to  selected 
larger  venues.  In  the  case  of  Fever's  bigger  releases, 
like  its  two  features,  Rodney  Evans's  The  Unveiling 
and  Jenni  Olson  and  Karl  Knapper's  Afro  Promo, 
Jusick  will  bulk-mail  a  one-sheet.  But  mailings  are 
expensive,  and  he  says  it's  difficult  to  sell  films  to  col- 
leges and  universities,  even  though  they  are  some  of 
his  better  funded  customers.  Some  of  his  most  lucra- 
tive deals  are  with  academic  libraries,  though  he  is  per- 
sonally more  excited  by  public  screenings. 
He's  also  more  excited  by  the  medium  of  film,  a  bias  that 
shows  in  his  reluctance  to  enter  the  home  video  market. 
While  he'd  like  to  subcontract  with  an  existing  video  dis- 
tributor, "home  video  sales  is  a  whole  different  kind  of 
ballgame"  and  not  necessarily  a  priority  for  Jusick.  "If  the 
work  exists  on  film,  I  really  hate  to  be  pushing  it  on 
video,  which  is  not  the  way  I  prefer  it  to  be  seen." 


ct\|ER  NLMS 

,„,0@te«rtl*.otJ 


Much  like  their  sixties  predecessors,  none  of  these 
MICRO-distributors  is  a  particularly  lucrative  business. 
But  profit  margins  rarely  inspire  enterprises  of  this 
'  sort.  They  are  novel  because  they  reflect  the  spirit  of 
their  times,  in  this  case  the  individualism  that  has 
replaced — for   better   or   worse — previous   collec- 
tivism. All  of  these  young  visionaries  insist  on  doing 
things  their  way  and  on  their  own  terms.    Which, 
come  to  think  of  it,  isn't  all  that  different  from  their 
equally  iconoclastic  predecessors. 

Brian  Frye  is  a  filmmaker,  curator,  and  freelance  u  riter  living 

in  Vic  York  Cir\. 


April  2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      33 


m 


..  .; 
■ 

■      ■  :  ;  .    ■:■■■■       '         ■ 


T  E  ST  I 


DIRECTOR  BRAD  ANDERSON  AND  CINEMATOGRAPHER  UTA  BRIESEWIJZ 
TALK  ABOUT  SHOOTING  THEIR  HORROR  FILM,  SESSION  9,  \  3 
ON  SONY'S  HD  24P  CAMERA,  THE  CINEALTA._  } 


by  Patricia  Thomson 


iGENES  IN  mi^p 

of  a  decrepit  19th  c e n^Cty *-rn en ta F'  i n s*t i t u t i o n T' l^SI^^Pfin d e rs^n^a y s " it' ^*veTy: dif- 
ferent movie  than  I've  ^'eV.d  one,"  he's  not  kidding.  Session  9  is  a  contemporary  horror 
film,  a  psychological  ttyi§ter  that  involves  a  group  of  asbestos  workers  cleaning  a  crum- 
bling insane  asylum  whoVe  drawn  into  its  past  mysteries — and  conceal  a  few  of  their  own. 
This  is  a  far  cry  from  light,  snappy  tone  of  his  previous  works — Happy  Accidents,  Next 
.  Stop  Wonderland,  and  Darien  Gap — all  smartly  written  works  that  deal  in  some  way  with 
contemporary  relationships.  But  the  difference  is  not  just  in  genre.  With  Session  9, 
Anderson  made  the  leafkfcom  35mm  to  High  Definition — specifically,  to  Sony's  HDW-F900, 
a  24-frames-per-secona'  progressive  scan  digital  camera,  more  commonly  known  as  the 
CineAlta.  [See  Robert  Goodman's  review,  page  38-39.] 
In  January,  Anderson  and  his  director  of  photography,  Uta  Briesewitz,  sat  down  with  The 
Independent  to  talk  at  length  about  their  experience  with  the  camera.  Since  the  two  had  previously  worked  togeth- 
er on  Next  Stop  Wonderland,  they  could  compare  the  35mm  versus  the  HD  experience,  both  from  their  own  vantage 
points  and  in  terms  of  how  it  affects  their  working  relationship  on  set.  Which  it  did.  So  here's  a  preview  of  the  new 
challenges  and  possibilities  of  filmmaking  to  come. 


Choosing  the  CineAlta 

Brad  Anderson:  Session  9  was  written  for  this  location,  the 
Danvers  State  Mental  Hospital,  which  is  about  30  minutes  north 
of  Boston.  Just  like  in  the  movie,  it  was  closed  down  in  the  eight- 
ies. It's  state  property  now,  and  a  lot  of  film  productions  have 
used  it  for  production  offices — The  Crucible,  for  instance.  But  no 
one's  used  it  to  make  an  actual  movie,  I  think  because  it's  so  dan- 
gerous. Some  of  the  building  is  more  intact.  But  parts  of  the 
building  are  falling  to  pieces.  Floors  are  collapsing  and  there  is 
asbestos  everywhere.  Because  I  had  a  connection  at  the  Mass 
Film  Office,  we  were  able  to  convince  them  to  give  us  permis- 
sion. We  had  to  sign  some  amazing  waivers. 

I'd  always  had  a  notion  of  making  a  horror  movie  there.  My 
cowriter  Steve  Gevodan  and  I  hooked  up  with  these  guys  who 
are  urban  spelunkers;  they  break  in  and  explore  abandoned 
buildings  and  military  facilities.  So  they  took  us  up  there  on  a  lit- 
tle day  trip.  We  went  to  the  morgue,  down  in  the  tunnels,  up  in 


L 


I   T  S 


the  attic,  and  found  patients'  files  and  weird  shit  on  the  walls. 
And  there  were  crazy  stairwells  and  tunnels.  Out  of  that,  we 
started  to  get  the  seeds  of  the  movie.  It  was  fun,  like  being  pre- 
sented with  a  ton  of  cool  locations  and  weaving  the  story  around 
that. 

The  original  intention  was  to  do  it  in  a  kind  of  quick,  Dogme 
sort  of  way,  because  we  had  no  money.  It  was  pitched  as  a  cool 
DV  project,  a  Chuck  and  Buck  type  thing.  Then  USAFilms 
pitched  in  the  money.  But  when  we  visited  the  location  again,  we 
thought,  if  we're  going  to  do  this  right  and  want  to  see  this  loca- 
tion... 

Uta  Briesewitz:  We  did  a  test  with  Sony's  DSR  500  DVCam, 
and  it  was  just  like  any  other  video.  The  close-ups  hold  up  okay, 
but  when  you  go  to  the  wider  shots,  it  gets  really  mushy.  That's 
one  of  the  strengths  of  the  [HD]  camera:  you  have  a  great  repro- 
duction of  detail. 

I  had  just  done  HD  on  another  film,  Derek  Simons'  7  and  a 
Match.  So  I  thought  that  if  we  have  to  go  video,  let's  go  with  the 
best  we  can  get.  I  suggested  HD  to  Brad,  and  that  same  after- 
noon, he  looked  at  a  sample  in  Boston  and  was  totally  sold  on  it. 
After  that,  the  option  of  going  to  film  never  really  came  up. 

[Ed.:  In  addition,  Session  9  producer  David  Collins  had  recent- 
ly completed  a  multiformat  feature  utilizing  HD.  He  was  instru- 
mental in  getting  a  CineAlta  from  Sony  before  its  release  on  the 
market,  as  well  as  the  company's  full  cooperation.] 

Anderson:  We  did  an  [HD  to  35mm  transfer]  test  and  looked  at 
some  of  these  wide  shots  blown  up;  you  could  count  the  leaves 
on  the  trees.  You  see  all  the  little  bricks.  The  resolution  is  incred- 
ible. If  I  were  shooting  on  smaller  cameras  that  didn't  have  the 
resolution,  those  wide  shots  would  be  useless,  unless  you  wanted 
an  awful  soft  look. 

Briesewitz:  And  this  place  actually  has  a  lot  of  beauty.  Incredible 


colors,  the  paint  that's  peeling  off,  all  the  production  value  that 
you  almost  couldn't  build  if  you  wanted  to.  We  wanted  to  keep 
the  details.  That's  why  we  didn't  go  mini-DV. 

Anderson:  This  is  probably  the  first  straightforward  narrative 
shot  on  HD  24p  without  it  being  part  of  the  whole  marketing  of 
the  movie.  There  are  a  bunch  of  movies  shooting  now  with  peo- 
ple jumping  on  this.  The  big  one  is  George  Lucas'  new  Star  Wars 
movie.  But  that  film  is  all  about  digital  effects.  This  is  a  straight- 
forward narrative  that  was  shot  with  this  camera  not  to  be  flashy 
or  crazy  about  it. 


Storyboards  and  lighting  timetables 

Anderson:  I  storyboarded  for  first  time,  both  because  we  had 
very  little  time,  and  also  because  it  was  USA  Films;  it's  more  of 
a  corporate,  studio-type  approach.  We  wanted  to  be  prepared. 
We  were  shooting  in  a  very  precarious  location  and  didn't  want 
to  go  in  and  just  mess  around.  There's  also  the  nature  of  the 
story:  it's  a  visually  told  story,  in  many  respects,  driven  more  by 
atmosphere  and  tone  than  by  dialogue.  So  we  wanted  to  create 
and  orchestrate  shots. 

I  took  a  DSR  500  with  me  during  prep.  We  shot  a  lot  with 
that,  and  I'd  edit  together  video  storyboards  on  my  laptop  with 
Imovie.  So  we  had  a  lot  of  scenes  shot  with  this  little  video  cam- 
era, and  you  just  match  it  with  HD.  That  was  very  helpful  and 
sped  things  up.  You  could  literally  point  to  the  scene  on  my  lap- 
top and  just  play  the  scene  to  the  gaffer  or  whatnot. 

Another  thing  we  did  in  preparation  was  create  lighting 
charts,  because  we  were  going  to  use  a  lot  of  available  light. 
Particularly  in  places  like  the  gym  and  the  kitchen,  which  are 
huge  spaces  and  we  had  very  little  ability  to  light.  So  we  needed 
to  know  when  light  was  coming  through  these  windows.  I  used 
my  little  digital  camera  and  took  five  seconds  of  footage  at  9 
a.m.,  five  at  noon,  five  at  4  p.m.  That  really  determined  our 
shooting  schedule.  We  knew  we  had  to  be  shooting  in  this  room 
between  these  hours  if  we  were  going  to  be  able  to  get  the  light. 


Handling  darks  .  .  . 

Anderson:  We  shot  a  lot  of  dark  scenes;  it  is  a  horror  movie.  But 
compared  to  a  conventional  horror  movie,  where  the  big  climax 
happens  on  some  dark  stormy  night  in  an  abandoned  house,  we 
chose  to  stage  a  lot  of  the  scary  moments  in  regular  sunlit  rooms. 
The  idea  of  staging  this  grim  little  story  in  this  place  was  intrigu- 
ing to  me  in  trying  to  find  a  pointed  counterpoint  to  the  typical 
horror  movie  genre,  where  all  the  monsters  lurk  in  shadows.  It's 
not  only  an  artistic  choice,  but  also  a  technical  choice.  Shooting 
at  night  in  this  location  with  a  limited  budget  for  the  lighting 
package  would  be  really  hard.  How  do  you  light  the  interior  o\  a 
building  that's  supposed  to  be  abandoned  without  having  that 
cheesy  blue-lit  effect? 

But  one  of  the  interesting  things  about  deciding  to  go  HD  was 
ignoring  the  tradition  rules  about  video,  like  'avoid  bright  high- 
lights' and  'avoid  going  into  dark.'  We  liked  playing  with  the 
extremes.  We've  got  guys  in  white  suits  going  out  in  broad  day- 


April   2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      35 


light;  we've  got 
tunnels  lit  by  one 
little  Zenon  flash- 
light. 

Briesewitz:     Our 

light  situations 
were  very  often  so 
incredibly  low  that 
the  still  photogra- 
pher came  up  to 
me  and  said,  'Even 
if  I  use  a  very,  very 
fast  film,  I  still 
can't  get  exposure 
here.' 


Some  of  the  interior 
walls  that  Anderson  and 
Briesewitz  loved  and  felt 
DVCams  couldn't  capture. 

(inset)  The  mental  institute,  closed 
during  the  Reagan  years. 


Anderson:  Like 
those  scenes  in  a 
steam  tunnel. 

These  were  just  lit 
with  the  [actors']  flashlights. 

Briesewitz:  But  we  did  fill  in.  I  had  the  same  flashlight  mounted 
on  the  camera  through  very  heavy  diffusion,  like  three  sheets  of 
paper.  We  did  a  test  for  that  to  see  how  much  we  could  push  it. 

Anderson:  We  blew  it  up  to  35mm  to  see  how  much  detail  you 
get.  You  get  pretty  much. 

Briesewitz:  We  wanted  to  be  as  natural  as  possible.  There  aren't 
many  ways  you  can  light  a  tunnel.  So  you  really  see  what  he  sees 
with  this  flashlight;  nothing  else. 

What  amazed  me  the  most  with  the  CineAlta  were  the  low 
light  situations.  When  we  had  really  big  locations,  like  people 
walking  through  hallways  forever  and  ever,  and  knew  we  would- 
n't be  able  to  light  them — because  that  scene  was  only  two- 
eighths  of  a  page,  and  we  couldn't  afford  to  put  up  tons  of  con- 
dors— we  would  put  on  a  prime  lens  and  be  just  amazed  at  how 
much  light  we  would  get  out  of  the  camera. 

I  had  to  adapt  my  eye,  because  usually  with  film,  I  would  know 
just  by  looking  what  I  would  have  to  fill  in.  But  with  this,  I  knew 
to  take  a  look  first  at  the  HD  field  monitor,  because  these  lenses 
read  differently.  Sometimes  less  was  more.  You  very  easily  can 
tend  to  overlight  it. 


.  .  .  and  highlights 

Briesewitz:  When  Brad  and  I  talked  about  creating  a  look,  we 
wanted  a  very  clean  negative — that's  why  we  decided  against  fil- 
tration. But  we  wanted  to  create  a  look  in  the  camera  as  much 
as  possible. 

I  had  already  done  an  HD  film  before,  but  not  24p.  So  I  knew 
what  I  wanted  to  test:  not  so  much  how  this  camera  works,  but 
how  it  behaves  visually.  In  my  other  HD  film  [shot  with  Sony's 
30  fps  HDW-700  1080i  camera],  I  would  control  my  highlights 
much  more.  When  shooting  somebody  inside  a  room  with  a  win- 
dow, very  often  I  would  control  the  window — net  it  down  and 
light  the  interior  more  to  bring  the  f-stops  closer  together  and 


keep     the     high- 
lights,   because    I 
felt  the  highlights 
always   give   away 
that  it's  video. 
Then    we    tested 
the  CineAlta  and 
pushed   it   to   the 
extreme.  When  we 
looked  at  the  test, 
Brad  and  I  actually 
agreed     that     we 
liked      how      the 
highlights   looked. 
I  saw  an  improvement  from  the  30  fps 
to  the  24p  on  the  highlights  and  the 
contrast  that  enabled  me  to  do  something 
I  couldn't  on  the  other. 

Anderson:  This  is  a  movie  where  the  guys  are  often 
walking  around  in  these  white  asbestos  uniforms  outside  in  the 
glaring  sun.  We  were  concerned  we'd  really  be  fucked  by  the 
brightness  of  the  suits. 

Briesewitz:  We  wondered,  'should  we  have  suits  that  are  a  little 
bit  toned  down?'  But  ultimately  we  felt  no,  the  moment  they  go 
outside,  let  them  become  these  glowy  white  little  angels.  Let's 
just  play  with  this  idea.  Let's  do  everything  we  were  expected  not 
to  do.  Usually  you  get  a  look  when  you  break  the  rules.  So  we 
decided,  let's  push  the  lightlights,  really  let  them  burn  far  above 
the  limit.  And  we  just  thought  that  was  a  pretty  good  look. 


The  viewfinder  &  field  monitor 

Briesewitz:  On  a  good  HD  field  monitor,  you  can  definitely  see 
the  focus,  which  was  helpful  to  us,  because  Brad  really  has  his 
eye  on  it.  He's  not  just  a  director  who  watches  the  performances, 
but  will  also  say,  "It's  a  little  bit  too  soft."  It's  sometimes  hard  to 
tell  in  this  little  black-and-white  viewfinder. 

Anderson:  That  was  a  real  problem  for  you.  I  think  that's  one  of 
the  things  they  need  to  change. 

Briesewitz:  There's  a  saying  that  the  DP  sees  the  movie  come 
together  first,  because  you're  so  close  with  your  eye,  you  feel  like 
you  see  it  on  a  big  screen;  you  feel  very  connected  to  the  actors. 
As  much  as  I  was  enthusiastic  about  many  things  about  this  cam- 
era, at  the  end  of  the  day,  I  felt  like  I  had  no  feeling  for  what  I 
shot.  Because  I  didn't  really  see  the  film;  I  saw  a  black  and  white 
image. 

The  thing  is,  although  it's  HD,  it's  not  a  better  viewfinder 
image.  It's  just  like  on  any  other  Betacam — a  mushy  little  video 
image.  And  the  problem  is,  so  much  of  your  framing  is  deter- 
mined by  color.  It's  a  different  thing,  looking  through  the 
viewfinder,  then  looking  up  to  check  your  frame. 

Operators  I  know  say  they  don't  mind  the  black  and  white 
viewfinder  or  say  they  can  even  see  their  focus  a  little  better.  But 
just  to  have  the  option  to  go  to  color  would  be  great.   [Ed: 


36    THE    INDEPENDENT     April  2001 


Panavision  is  developing  a  color  viewfinder  for  their  version  of 
the  24p  camera,  which  takes  Sony's  model  and  couples  it  with 
Panavision's  viewfinder  and  Primo  lenses.] 

Anderson:  It's  also  a  problem  when  you're  shooting  Steadicam 
or  handheld,  because  you  can't  connect  to  the  monitor,  and  she's 
winging  it  a  little  bit. 

Briesewitz:  Because  of  this  building,  we  had  major  problems  get- 
ting a  good  wireless  transmission  of  the  image.  Very  often,  we 
would  have  a  Steadicam  shot  and  could  not  see  anything. 
Luckily,  we  could  rewind  and  take  a  look.  That's  an  advantage. 
Also,  on  handheld  shots,  this  camera  is  more  pleasant,  I  have 
to  say.  It's  a  little  bit  lighter,  and  it  fits  nicely.  If  you  have  a  heavy 
camera  on  your  shoulder,  it  makes  you  more  steady.  But  if  you 
run  behind  somebody  in  a  tunnel  and  there's  muddy  ground  or 
whatever,  it  feels  good  to  have  this  camera  on  your  shoulder. 
And  I  can  always  easily  take  my  eye  off  the  lens  and  shake  things. 
Even  when  I'm  running,  I  can  hold  the  camera  and  look  straight. 
I  don't  have  to  have  my  eye  on  the  viewfinder. 


A  different  dynamic 

Anderson:  For  me  the  big  advantage  was  being  able  to  sit  there 
and  watch  on  the  monitor  what  I  was  getting.  You  do  that  on  a 
regular  movie  with  a  film  shoot  as  well,  but  you  don't  get  the 
quality.  Here  you're  getting  the  image  right  from  the  camera  on 
a  high  definition  monitor.  When  you  light  the  movie,  you  light  it 
according  to  the  monitor.  We  didn't  use  a  meter  once. 

Briesewitz:  You  don't  need  to  run  around  and  ask,  'Is  this  going 


black?  Is  this  going  mushy?'  I  go  to  the  monitor  and  see  what  1 
have.  To  tell  the  truth,  if  someone  shoots  HD  and  runs  around 
with  a  meter.  . .  I  don't  know,  I  haven't  found  a  purpose  for  it  yet, 
because  you  really  light  to  the  monitor. 

Anderson:  But  that's  also  the  disadvantage  of  it.  It's  like  the 
DP's  work  is  up  for  public  approval. 

Briesewitz:  All  of  a  sudden,  you  can  find  the  producer  behind 
the  monitor,  and  everyone  else  throwing  in  ideas.  Or  the  pro- 
duction designer  saying,  'Oh,  I  had  no  idea  my  color  looks  like 
this.'  Of  course,  everybody  should  be  respected  and  heard,  but 
sometimes  I  was  wondering  it  this  opens  up  a  place  for  too  many 
opinions. 

Anderson:  It  was  the  same  when  Avids  replaced  flatbeds;  sud- 
denly everyone  could  be  an  editor.  A  producer  could  come  in 
and  in  a  matter  of  hours  recut  the  scene  easily  and  quickly,  and 
have  his  version  of  the  film.  It's  the  same  with  this.  That's  a  very 
different  dynamic  for  a  DP  in  particular. 

Briesewitz:  But  if  I  were  a  student  shooting  my  first  feature,  I 
think  I  would  be  less  worried  shooting  HD  than  shooting  film. 
There's  not  this  anxiety  of  sending  the  dailies  to  the  lab,  and 
then  you  get  it  back  and  it's,  'Oh,  what  have  I  done?' 

Anderson:  I'd  say  to  any  directors  considering  HD,  make  certain 
that  the  DP  you're  working  with  is  gung-ho  about  working  in  this 
kind  of  [collaborative]  way.  The  director  has  a  chance  to  be 
much  more  involved  in  that  process,  and  some  DPs  are  protec- 
tive of  their  skills  and  role  in  the  filmmaking  process. 

Patricia  Thomson  is  editor  in  chief  of  The  Independent. 


T>- 


(L  &  R):  Two  shots  taken  directly  from  the  HD  master,  showing 
aspect  ratio,  lighting,  and  spooky  The  S/H'n/ng-like  interiors. 
Budget-conscious  Anderson  and  Briesewitz  created  graphs  that 
charted  the  natural  light  in  each  room  during  the  course  of  the  day. 


(L)  With  scenes  set  inside  dark  steam  tunnels  or  out 
in  the  glaring  sunlight,  the  Session  9  team  came  to 
know  intimately  how  the  CineAlta  handles  blacks  and 
highlights — normally  a  stumbling  block  for  video. 


April   2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      37 


(M 


rs  -  <";<. ~f.r j'  <"  i  r )  c"t-~  *< 


5 


Hi-Def  in  High  Relief 

Digital  Filmmaking  with  Sony's  CineAlta 


by   Robert   M.    Goodman 


After  Sony  unveiled  its  CineAlta  at 
the  NAB  convention  last  year  and  pro- 
jected some  amazing  sample  footage,  I, 
like  many  others  in  the  room,  was  eager 
to  test  this  24  frame  progressive  high-def- 
inition video  camera.  So  when  Plus  8 
Video,  a  NY/LA  rental  house  that  has 
plunged  into  HDTV,  offered  to  loan  me  a 
CineAlta  HDW-F900  camcorder  to 
test,  I  jumped  at  the  chance. 

The  Sony  HDW-F900  can  be  config- 
ured   for    digital    cinematography, 
using    prime     and    manual 
zoom   lenses,    or   equipped 
with  servo  zoom  lenses  for 
ENG/EFP  use.  The   acces- 
sories   Plus    8    loaned    me 
included        an        Ahakus 
Engineering      Extension 
Viewfinder,    Chrosziel 
Follow  Focus, 

Preston  Micro- 
force  zoom 
control, 
O'Connor  2575 
head  with  Ronford  legs,  Plus 
8  Design  6x6  swing-away  matte 
box,  and  a  Plus  8  front  box.  The 
complement  of  lenses  included:  four 
primes — a  5mm  T1.7,  12mm  T1.5,  and 
40mm  T1.5  from  Fujinon  plus  a  15mm 
T2.3  from  Canon;  two  cine-style  zoom 
lenses — a  11.5x5.3  T1.9  Angenieux  and 
a  9x5.5  T2.3  Canon;  three  ENG/EFP 
servo  zoom  lenses — a  20x7.5  T1.2  and 
10x5.2  T1.3  Fujinon  and  a  18x7.8  T2.3 
Canon;  and  two  lens  adaptors  to  mount 
Nikon  still  lenses  on  the  F900. 

PREPRODUCTION  PREP 

I  spent  half  a  day  going  over  the  camera 
with  Plus  8's  chief  engineer  prior  to  our 
tests.  There  are  decisions  that  need  to  be 
made  before  you  shoot  with  this  camera. 
The  F900  can  record  in  a  variety  of  frame 
rates.  The  choice  has  a  significant  impact 
on  how  audio  recording  and  postproduc- 
tion  must  be  handled.  The  24p  frame  rate 


— 24  frames  per  second  segmented  frame 
progressive  scan  mode — has  received  all 
of  the  press  attention.  However,  the  cam- 
era also  records  at  23.97p  (a  multiple  of 
standard  interlaced  video  rate  of  29.97), 
in  25p,  30p,  50i  (25  frames  per  second 
interlaced),  or  in  60i,  the  NTSC  frame  rate. 
The  issues  revolve  around  time- 
code  (24  fps  or  30  fps  variants), 
double  system  sound  recording 
(audio  sync),  and  the  ability  of 
offline  editing  systems  to 


create    accurate 

EDLs  for  an  online  edit. 

In  a  nutshell,  if  you  record 

audio  on  the  HDCAM  tape, 

shoot    at    23.97.    If  you 

record  on  a  Nagra  or  DAT 

.  recorder,    shoot   at   24fps. 

Before   you   offline   on   an 

Avid,  visit  www.24p.com  to  learn  more 

about  the  issues  surrounding  editing  24p 

footage. 

CAMERA  ERGONOMICS 

Anyone  who's  ever  used  a  Sony  broadcast 
camera  will  be  familiar  with  the  place- 
ment of  the  camera's  switches  and  con- 
trols. The  filter  wheels,  white  balance 
switches,  deck  controls,  start/stop  trigger, 
gain  settings,  audio  mixing  controls,  and 
memory  stick  slot  correspond  with  cur- 
rent and  older  Sony  camcorders. 

A  menu  selection  wheel  on  the  bottom 
front  of  the  camera  provides  access  to  five 
categories  of  menus,  all  of  which  have 
numerous  pages.  The  paint  category  offers 
total  control  over  the  camera  settings. 
That's  terrific — and  extremely  dangerous. 
The  main  color  gamut  can  be  adjusted  as 


easily  as  black  gamma  or  skin  detail  set- 
tings. The  groupings  o{  menu  pages  are 
logical  for  the  most  part,  but  there  is  no 
hierarchy  to  separate  those  items  you 
should  rarely  touch  from  those  you  can 
adjust  with  impunity.  This  single -wheel 
approach  to  programming  the  camera  is  a 
holdover  from  ENG  style  production.  The 
RM-B150  remote  paint  box  offers  knob 
and  switch  controls  for  these  functions 
that  made  modifying  the  look  and  gamma 
of  the  camera  far  easier  to  do. 

When  equipped  with  a  manual  zoom 
lens  and  an  Anton  Bauer  Hytron  100  bat- 
tery, the  HDW-F900  weighs  over  25 
pounds.  It's  heavier  than  a  typical  cam- 
corder, though  the  camera  was  well  bal- 
anced. The  camera's  weight  is  not  appre- 
ciably lower  in  its  ENG  configuration. 
Handheld  use,  even  for  short  periods,  was 
very  tiring. 

LENSES 

The  CineAlta  camera  uses  the  standard 
B4  lens  mount  found  on  every  2/3"  CCD 
video,  but  the  lenses  are  far  superior.  Most 
manufacturers  assumed,  at  first,  that  they 
would  be  able  to  adapt  their  35mm 
motion  picture  lenses  for  HDTV.  But 
HDTV  reveals  every  imperfection  in  lens 
design.  The  perfectly  flat  surface  of  the 
CCDs  and  the  fact  that  there  is  no  film 
weaving  slightly  in  a  gate  quickly 
destroyed  that  approach.  The  manufac- 
turers had  to  design  new  lenses. 

Even  Nikon  still  lenses  come  up  short. 
We  tried  using  the  Nikon  adaptors  with 
three  different  lenses.  None  were  aberra- 
tion free  or  sharp  enough  to  use.  Plus  8 
has  found  that  it's  hit  or  miss — you  just 
keep  trying  until  you  find  a  lens  sharp 
enough  for  HDTV. 

The  prime  and  cine -style  manual  zoom 
HDTV  lenses  have  highly  visible  T-stop 
and  distance  marks.  The  focal-length 
markings  on  the  zooms  are  also  clear. 
Unfortunately,  none  of  the  manufacturers 
have  a  clear  understanding  of  the  working 
distances  (camera  to  subject  distance)  at 
which  most  films  are  shot.  Numerous 
focus  marks  delineate  the  one  to  eight 
feet  range.  Yet,  only  one  or  two  marks 
exist  in  the  10  feet  to  infinity  range.  The 
depth  of  field  in  HDTV  is  greater  than  in 
35mm  film,  so  there's  some  leeway. 
However,  focus  is  extremely  critical  when 
the  final  image  could  be  projected  on  a 
sixty-foot  screen. 


38    THE    INDEPENDENT     April  2001 


THE  VIEWFINDER 

The  design  of  the  HDW~F900's  viewfind- 
er  (HDVF-20A  2"  HD  24F)  is  similar  to  a 
typical  Betacam  ENG  camera.  There  are 
controls  for  brightness,  contrast,  and 
peaking.  (Tip:  The  peaking  control  must 
be  turned  down  or  everything  in  the 
viewfinder  appears  to  be  in  focus  whether 
it  is  or  not.)  The  viewfinder  display  is  a  2" 
black-and-white  RGB  HD  CRT,  capable 
of  resolving  500  lines  at  center.  The 
HDTV  format  can  resolve  1920  lines  of 
horizontal  resolution — nearly  four  times 
the  resolution  of  the  viewfinder.  The  CRT 
image  is  reflected  onto  a  mirror  that  is 
magnified  by  a  lens  with  diopter  adjust- 
ments to  enlarge  the  image. 

One  of  the  five  menu  categories  is 
devoted  to  setting  up  the  viewfinder  dis- 
play. Everything  from  aspect  ratio  to  shut- 
ter speed  can  appear  in  the  viewfinder. 
However,  to  set  exposure  you  must  rely  on 
the  camera's  two  independent  zebra  set- 
tings or  use  an  external  monitor  or  light 
meter.  The  image  in  the  viewfinder  has 
not  passed  through  the  camera's  shutter. 
Consequently,  looking  at  it  while  the 
camera  dollies  past  a  highly  patterned 
background,  such  as  a  chain  link  fence, 
may  induce  mild  motion  sickness.  The 
standard  diopter's  plastic  lens  does  not 
maintain  flat  field  focus  across  the  entire 
image.  Setting  critical  focus  was  extreme- 
ly difficult  to  do  with  the  viewfinder.  Its 
resolution  is  at  the  limit  of  what  the 
human  eye  can  resolve  for  a  two  inch 
image.  Critical  focus  must  be  set  using  a 
tape  measure  or  an  external  monitor. 

THE  SHOOT 

Using  a  volunteer  crew,  we  shot  for  two 
days  outdoors  and  a  few  hours  indoors. 
The  first  day  had  partial  sun.  The  second 
was  completely  overcast.  The  only  annoy- 
ance we  experienced  during  the  shoot  was 
the  placement  of  the  camera's  record  trig- 
ger. When  the  camera  is  fully  tricked  out 
with  the  follow  focus,  zoom  motor,  and 
matte  box,  it's  difficult  for  the  operator  to 
reach. 

Plus  8  pre-programmed  the  camera's 
memory  stick  to  optimize  the  camera  for 
shooting  under  high  and  low  contrast  sit- 
uations. They  made  these  adjustments  in 
their  test  facility  and  stored  them  as  scene 
files  for  us.  So,  we  had  three  settings 
choices  (high,  low,  and  normal)  on  loca- 


tion. Painting  the  camera  outdoors  with  a 
tiny  Sony  8"  portable  HD  monitor  (BVM- 
D9H5U)  as  our  reference  didn't  seem  like 
a  good  idea.  The  image  was  too  small  to 
accurately  display  and  judge  the  subtle 
changes  this  camera  allows  you  to  make. 
Add  outdoor  glare  and  you  have  a  pre- 
scription for  an  unintentional  disaster 
that  could  cause  havoc  in  post.  We  initial- 
ly relied  on  the  monitor  to  set  focus  and 
exposure.  However,  we  only  had  six 
Hytron  100  batteries.  The  batteries  pow- 
ered the  camera  for  approximately  five 
hours  or  barely  45  minutes  for  the  moni- 
tor. We  ended  up  using  the  monitor  only 
when  absolutely  necessary  and  relying  on 
a  tape  measure  to  set  focus. 

SUMMARY 

After  three  days,  I  barely  scratched  the 
surface  of  this  camera's  capabilities.  The 
footage  has  spectacular  color  rendition 
and  exceptional  detail.  The  best  way  to 
describe  it  is  'grainless  35mm  film.'  It  all 
looked  good  on  the  8"  monitor.  A  month 
later,  on  a  32"  HD  monitor  (BVM- 
D32E1WU),  I  could  clearly  see  the  good, 
the  bad,  and  the  ugly.  Focus  was  a  prob- 
lem. Some  zoom  lenses  had  noticeable 
chromatic  aberration  at  wide  focal 
lengths.  But  the  great  shots  looked  phe- 
nomenal on  a  large  screen.  If  I  were  shoot- 
ing, I'd  insist  on  having  a  24"  or  32"  mon- 
itor on  set.  It's  too  hard  to  judge  what 
you're  doing  on  anything  smaller. 

I  also  watched  some  scenes  that  inter- 
cut 35mm  and  24p  HDCAM  footage. 
What  separated  1080/24p  from  35mm 
was  the  grain.  The  CineAlta  camera  has 
greater  depth  of  field.  It  doesn't  reproduce 
specular  highlights  as  well  as  35mm, 
though  the  color  gamut  is  nearly  identical. 
A  CineAlta  filmmaking  package  rents  for 
approximately  $7,000  a  week.  (The  cam- 
era retails  for  around  $100,000,  and  the 
lenses  from  $10,000  to  $50,000.)  Fifty 
minutes  of  tapestock  is  $70.  It's  clear 
we're  on  the  cusp  of  a  new  era,  because 
digital  filmmaking  no  longer  means  image 
quality  has  been  compromised.  And  it's 
bound  to  get  better  and  cheaper. 

Robert  Goodman  [goodman@historks.coin  j 
wrote  the  camera  and  lens  chapter  for  ASC's  lat- 
est edition  of  Digital  Video  Manual  and  is  an 
award-winning  writer  and  Emmy-nominated 
director  based  in  Philadelphia.  He  is  currently  co- 
producing  the  feature  Gifts  in  the  Mail. 


CameraPlanet 

PICTURES 

DIGITAL  FILM  CENTER 

DIGITAL  VIDEO  -  SOUP  TO  NUTS 

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Transfer 

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t:  212.779.0500  x227 
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www.CameraPlanetPictures.com 

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April   2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      39 


S3 


Army  of  One 


Movie  Wars:  How  Hollywood  and  the 
Media  Conspire  to  Limit  What  Films 
We  Can  See 

by  Jonathan  Rosenbaum;  234  pp. 
Chicago:  A  Cappella  Books;  $24 

by   Rob   Nelson 

Consider  this:  Roger  Ebert  is  a  studio 
lackey,  but  he's  not  as  ignorant  about 
movies  as  his  late  partner  Gene  Siskel 
was.  The  "media-industrial  complex" 
turns  most  of  the  nation's  film  criticism 
into  another  form  of  publicity.  The 
American  Film  Institute's  Top  100  list  is 
a  money-grubbing  means  to  sell  more 
videos  from  the  studio  vaults.  The 
Danish  Dogme  95  movement  is  a  PR 
scam  that  plays  directly  to  American  film 
critics'  moronic  love  of  hype. 
Hollywood's  market  research  is  designed 
to  make  the  public  appear  stupid. 
Miramax  Films  buys  foreign-language 
movies  in  order  to  bury  them.  Pauline 
Kael,  during  her  last  years  at  the  New 
Yorker,  initiated  an  anti-world-cinema 
campaign  that  is  now  standard  practice 
at  most  mainstream  magazines.  The 
Sundance  Film  Festival  is  an  "industry- 
run"  affair  where  audience  members  talk 
on  cell  phones  during  screenings. 
Cannes,  on  the  other  hand,  is  essential — 
provided  the  festival  pays  your  way. 

Welcome  to  the  world  of  Movie  Wars: 
How  Hollywood  and  the  Media  Conspire  to 
Limit  What  Films  We  Can  See  by  Jonathan 
Rosenbaum,  esteemed  film  critic  at  the 
Chicago  Reader  and  author  of  one  of  the 
most  unmitigated  movie  rants  since  John 
Simon's  last  volume  of  collected  pans. 
One  can  agree  with  most  of  what 
Rosenbaum  argues  here — in  fact,  I  do — 
and  still  find  his  book  to  be  an  oppres- 
sive, pedantic  bore.  What  the  critic  tries 
to  explain  over  the  course  of  225  ram- 
bling pages  is  why  the  mass  audience 
doesn't  get  exposed  to  great  movies;  what 
he  fails  to  include  amid  all  the  finger- 
pointing  is  any  passionate  description  of 
what's  at  stake. 

In  previous  collections  such  as  Placing 
Movies   and  Movies  as   Politics,   Rosen- 


40    THE    INDEPENDENT     April  2001 


Jonathan  Rosenbaum 


baum — a  vastly  knowledgeable  and  con- 
sciously political  advocate  of  world  cine- 
ma— leavened  his  righteous  indignation 
with  chapters  devoted  to  the  lengthy 
praise  of  worthy  obscurities.  In  Movie 
Wars,  the  criticism  isn't  constructive, 
while  even  the  raves  accentuate  the  neg- 
ative: A  section  on  Joe  Dante's  misinter- 
preted toy  story  satire 
Small  Soldiers  finds 
Rosenbaum  taking  inven- 
tory of  47  of  the  film's 
reviews — none  of  which, 
it  seems,  matched  the 
author's  own  insights  as 
published  in  the  Reader. 

If  Rosenbaum  appears 
reluctant  to  herald  the 
perspicacity  of  other  crit- 
ics, one  of  the  clearer 
points  he  makes  in  Movie 
\vars  is  that  the  ticket- 
buying  masses  are  likely 
smarter  than  they're 
taken  to  be,  but  bear  the  brunt  of  blame 
for  dumb-and-dumber  cinema.  The  rea- 
soning goes  that  so-called  "capitalist  film 
critics"  who  favor  incessant  coverage  of 
studio  dross  have  a  vested  interest  in 
maintaining  the  public's  bad  taste  so  as  to 
justify  their  own  (and  that  of  their  corpo- 
rate employers).  But  isn't  that  merely  the 
mainstream  part  of  the  equation?  How 
about  what's  been  happening  on  the 
fringes  to  allow  public  screenings  of  the 
critic's  beloved  works  by  Abbas 
Kiarostami  and  Hou  Hsiao-hsien  even 
despite  such  tyranny — and  even  in  fly- 
over country? 

Alas,  Rosenbaum  doesn't  much  deal 
with  the  newly  reinvigorated  noncorpo- 
rate circuit  of  distribution  and  exhibition 
that  has  enabled  the  esoteric  likes  of 
Flowers  of  Shanghai,  Time  Regained,  and 
Bean  Travail  to  enjoy  extended  exposure 
in  smaller  cities — perhaps  because  to  do 
so  would  be  to  share  credit  with  an  entire 
community  of  cineastes  whose  own  strug- 
gles against  the  "media-industrial  com- 
plex" have  yielded  positive  results. 
Ironically,  the  author's  relentless  doom- 
saying  has  him  following  suit  with  those 
mainstream — er,    capitalist — film   critics 


MOVIE  WARS 

How  Hollywood  and  the  Media 

Conspire  to  Limit  What 

Films  We  Can  See 


who  see  corporate -owned  arthouse  chains 
as  an  "alternative"  to  shopping- mall  mul- 
tiplexes and  avoid  discussion  of  the  rest. 
Rosenbaum  accuses  Miramax  (an  increas- 
ingly familiar  target  of  his  tirades)  of  forc- 
ing indie  theaters  to  "play  ball"  by  screen- 
ing its  lesser  product  in  trade  for  hits.  But 
in  fact,  alternative  venues  such  as 
Minneapolis's  Oak  Street  Cinema,  Park- 
way Theater,  and  U  Film  Society — which, 
like  other  theaters  around  the  country, 
have  fortified  ties  with  smaller  distributors 
such  as  New  Yorker  Films,  Winstar 
Cinema,  and  Kino  Inter- 
national, among  others — 
haven't  needed  to  rely  on 
mini-major  fare  for  years. 
Whether  related  to  film 
or  not,  conspiracy  theo- 
ries are  more  credible 
when  they  stem  from  a 
reporter's  research  rather 
than  a  critic's  specula- 
tions. Which  is  to  say 
that,  while  the  author  is 
right  that  the  mainstream 
media  does  "conspire"  to 
prevent  Adam  Sandler 
fans  from  knowing  about 
Kiarostami,  he's  wrong  that  the  Iranian 
director  is  failing  to  find  an  audience. 
Rosenbaum  is  fond  of  (re)  telling  the  story 
of  Miramax's  spiteful  refusal  to  circulate 
its  sole  Kiarostami  acquisition,  Through 
the  Olive  Trees;  but  actually,  the  movie  has 
managed  to  screen  anyway,  since,  as  one 
Madison  curator  told  me  recently,  the  film 
is  readily  available  through  a  specialty 
outfit  (known  in  the  industry  as  a 
"nontheatrical  distributor")  that  gets  its 
print  through  the  evil  Miramax. 

In  its  convenient  neglect  of  a  thriving 
subculture  in  favor  of  self-congratulatory 
rabble-rousing,  Movie  Wars  has  more  in 
common  with  those  dire  "death  of  cine- 
ma" screeds  from  a  few  years  ago  than  its 
author  would  likely  care  to  admit.  At  one 
point,  Rosenbaum  suggests  "we'd  be 
much  better  off  if  we  had  no  film  critics  at 
all,"  although  his  mainstream-bashing 
mission  seems  more  like  a  ploy  to  get  the 
likes  of  David  Denby  and  David  Thomson 
to  write  as  rigorously  about  Hou  Hsiao- 
hsien  as  he  does.  But  something  tells  me 
the  movie  warrior  would  rather  fight  this 
battle  alone. 

Rob  Nelson  is  film  editor  at  Ciry  Pages  in 

Minneapolis.  A  version  of  this  article  originally 

appeared  in  that  publication. 


The  Scoop 


The  Biz:  The  Basic  Business,  Legal, 

and    Financial    Aspects    of    the    Film 

Industry 

by  Schuyler  M.  Moore,   366  pp.  Los 

Angeles:  Silman-James  Press,  $26.95 

BY    INNES 

GUMNITSKY 

Schuyler  Moore's  The  Biz  offers  a 
comprehensive  and  realistic  overview  of 
the  film  business.  The  author  certainly 
took  off  his  rose-colored 
glasses  while  writing  this 
volume,  which  may  be 
particularly  helpful  if  you 
are  still  wearing  a  pair. 
Unfortunately,  the  lan- 
guage of  the  book  is 
somewhat  dry;  if  you  plan 
to  skim  through  it  in  a 
few  hours,  it  may  not 
work  for  you.  But  if  your 
objective  is  information 
rather  than  entertain- 
ment, this  book  is  the 
right  choice. 

The  Biz  can  be  particularly  useful  if  you 
treat  it  as  a  reference  guide.  Each  of  its  23 
chapters  covers  a  distinct  topic.  So  if  one 
day  you  want  to  learn  about  raising 
money,  and  another  you  need  to  delve 
into  distribution  agreements,  you  can  eas- 
ily turn  to  the  appropriate  chapter.  I  pre- 
dict many  readers  will  get  lost  in  some  of 
the  chapters  dealing  with  studio  financing 
(after  all,  the  book  is  a  mandatory  read  for 
the  author's  students  at  UCLA  School  of 
Law),  but  do  not  get  discouraged.  At  the 
very  least,  you  will  know  which  issues  to 
discuss  with  your  lawyer  and  accountant. 

There  are  things  that  you  can  do  on 
your  own,  which  the  book  helps  identify. 
The  chapter  on  Entities,  for  example, 
explains  why  establishing  a  Limited 
Liability  Company  (LLC)  will  be  the  right 
choice  99  percent  of  the  time.  But  other 
things  should  only  be  done  with  the  help 
of  an  experienced  attorney.  The  chapter 
on  Private  Offerings  makes  it  very  clear 
that  mistakes  in  compliance  with  the 
securities  laws  can  make  the  producer 
personally   liable   for   repayment   of  the 


investment.  To  make  matters  worse, 
intentional  failure  to  comply  is  punishable 
as  a  criminal  offense. 

Do  not  overlook  the  chapter  on 
Calculating  Net  Profits;  it's  a  real  eye 
opener.  It  provides  a  good  understanding 
of  what  net  profits  are  and  how  you  can 
make  them  more  meaningful  when  trying 
to  attract  major  talent  to  your  next  film, 
especially  if  you  are  not  able  to  pay  their 
top  rate  up  front.  A  chapter  on  Credits  is 
also  well  written  and  will  help  you  in 
negotiations  with  talent.  Understanding 
issues  of  guild  jurisdiction,  guild  residuals, 
and  other  guild  requirements  will  save 
you  an  enormous  amount  of  time  and 
headache.  SAG,  for  example,  requires 
independent  film  com- 
panies to  deposit  a  large 
percentage  of  the  actors' 
compensation  and  pen- 
sion and  health  benefits 
with  them,  which 
becomes  part  of  the 
film's  budget. 

Several  chapters  delve 
into  the  basic  principles 
of  intellectual  property 
law.  Using  simple  and 
clear  language,  the 
author  lays  out  every- 
thing you  need  to  know 
to  avoid  legal  action  for  violating  some- 
one's copyright,  right  of  publicity,  and 
trademark.  The  author  preaches  a  conser- 
vative but  practical  approach:  "When  in 
doubt,  leave  it  out."  Getting  sued  in  this 
country  is  not  a  particularly  enjoyable 
experience,  and  if  you  don't  believe  me, 
just  read  the  chapter  on  Litigation.  As 
Moore  notes,  "Merely  to  be  sued  is  to 
lose."  Not  only  do  you  open  yourself  up  to 
potentially  limitless  liability,  but  even  if 
you  win  the  case,  you  are  usually  stuck 
with  a  huge  legal  bill. 

Overall,  The  Biz  does  a  great  job  at 
demystifying  the  film  industry.  It  cannot 
substitute  for  obtaining  your  own  lawyer, 
but  it  can  save  you  a  lot  of  time,  money, 
and  trouble.  It  can  also  add  some  disci- 
pline to  the  process  of  producing  a  film, 
and  from  what  I  have  observed,  that  is 
always  a  good  thing. 

Innes  Gumnitsky  [innesgu@yahoo.com]  is  a 

New  York-based  entertainment  attorney  at 

Cowan,  DeBaets,  Abrahams  &  Sheppard.  She 

will  be  moderating  a  series  of  legal  discussions  at 

AIVF  from  May-November  (see  pg.  60). 


II 


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April   2001    THE    INDEPENDENT      41 


^ 


LOT  47  FILMS 


BY    LlSSA    GlBBS 

w 

t  sa»^   » 

1 

Lot  47  Films,  26  W.  23rd  St.,  5th  floor, 

yH 

■"7~^ -■..-. 

»     ^    M 

New  York,  NY  10010 

(646)  638-4747;  fax:  638-4757 

info@lot47.com;  www.lot47.com 

Contact:  Jeff  Lipsky,  Co-President 

V  " 

What  is  Lot  47  Films? 

We  are  one  of  the  few  independent  film  distributors 
left  in  the  United  States. 

Who  is  Lot  47? 

It  was  co-founded  in  July  1999  by  brothers  Jeff  and 
Scott  Lipsky.  A  third  brother,  Mark,  joined  the  com- 
pany in  January  2001  serving  as  co-president  with 
Jeff.  Scott  holds  the  title  of  chairman  and  CEO. 
Shortly  after  the  company  was  formed,  Mary  Ann 
Hult,  formerly  of  Fox  Searchlight  and  New  Yorker 
Films,  joined  Lot  47  as  vice-president  of  publicity; 
Dawn  Altyn,  formerly  an  executive  at  Stratosphere, 


joined  the  company  as  vice  president  of  distribu- 
tion services;  and  Danae  Kokenos,  formerly 
Director  of  Acquisitions  for  Samuel  Goldwyn  Films, 
joined  the  company  as  vice  president  of  acquisi- 
tions. 

Total  number  of  employees  at  Lot  47: 

Seven 

How,  when,  and  why  did  Lot  47  come  into 
being? 

It  was  Jeff  Lipsky's  passionate  determination  to 
distribute  Tim  Roth's  The  War  Zone  that  led  to  the 
formation  of  the  company.  He  was  the  head  of 


Two  Lot  47  films:  Harry  Sinclair's  The  Price  of  Milk  (left),  and  Im 
Kwon  Taek's  masterly  Chunhyang,  the  story  of  two  young  lovers 
from  different  worlds  who  are  torn  apart. 


marketing  and  distribution  at  Samuel  Goldwyn 
Films  at  the  time — early  1999.  The  War  Zone 
world  premiered  at  the  Sundance  Film  Festival,  but 
Jeff  avoided  the  film  because  he  wasn't  in  the 
mood  to  see  a  movie  about  the  war  in  Bosnia  and 
he  didn't  like  Quentin  Tarantino  movies  (whose 
films  he  closely  associated  with  Tim  Roth).  The 
next  month  he  went  to  Berlin  where  The  War  Zone 
competed  in  the  Panorama  section  of  that  city's 
festival.  He  again  avoided  the  film.  After  Berlin  he 
discovered  what  the  film  was  really  about  and 
began  hearing  that  it  was  brilliant,  unusual,  spe- 
cial. He  asked  to  see  a  print  in  New  York  prior  to  the 
AFM  and  watched  it  with  his  then-assistant, 
Christie  Colliopoulos.  They  were  blown  away  by  the 
film.  He  showed  it  to  Samuel  Goldwyn,  Jr.  and  com- 
pany President  Meyer  Gottlieb.  They  both  agreed 
that  it  was  worth  acquiring  but  couldn't  strike  a 
deal.  It  was  at  one  in  the  morning  on  a  cold  night 
in  Cannes  as  Jeff  sat  commiserating  with  Tim  Roth 
(with  whom  he  had  begun  to  form  a  bond)  and  his 
producer,  Dixie  Linder,  that  he  blurted  out  that  he 
had  a  brother  in  Seattle  with  access  to  some 
financing.  Two  months  later  Lot  47  Films  was 
incorporated.  Six  months  later,  Jeff's  brother's 
enthusiasm  about  what  had  been  achieved  on  The 
War  Zone  prompted  him  to  suggest  they  make  Lot 
47  a  permanent  part  of  the  independent  distribu- 
tion firmament. 

What's  the  driving  philosophy  behind  Lot  47? 

Our  mandate  is  three-pronged.  One:  we  will  con- 
tinue to  provide  moviegoers  with  a  broad  cross- 
section  of  diverse  indepen